family of tunicates

A salp is a barrel-shaped, planktic tunicate.

A chain of salps near the surface in the Red Sea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Tunicata
Class: Thaliacea
Order: Salpida
Family: Salpidae
Lahille, 1888
Subfamilies, genera and species[1]

See text

Circular ring cluster of pelagic salps
Salp chain
Another salp chain

Salps moves by contracting. This pumps water through their gelatinous bodies. It is one of the most efficient examples of jet propulsion in the animal kingdom.[2]

The salp pumps water through its internal feeding filters and feeds on phytoplankton.

Salps are common in all seas. The most salps are in the Southern Ocean (near Antarctica),[3] where they may form enormous swarms, often in deep water. They are sometimes even more abundant than krill.[4]

Although salps look similar to jellyfish with their simple body form and behaviour, in fact they are chordates. This means they are animals with a dorsal nerve cord. They are related to vertebrates, animals with backbones.


  1. "Salpidae". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  2. Bone, Q. (1983). "Jet propulsion in salps (Tunicata: Thaliacea)". Journal of Zoology. 201 (4): 481–506. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1983.tb05071.x.
  3. "Now that's a jelly fish!". Daily Mail. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  4. "Dive and Discover: Scientific Expedition 10: Antarctica". Retrieved 2008-09-03.