The mucous (protein and cellulose) house of a larvacean, a planktonic relative of sea squirts. Although the tadpole-shaped architect that normally resides within may have evacuated (as is normal after a time), the pale central inner filters that it constructs remain visible. The meshes of these filters are so fine that they trap bacteria-sized and smaller particles.

The mucous (protein and cellulose) house of a larvacean, a planktonic relative of sea squirts. Although the tadpole-shaped architect that normally resides within may have evacuated (as is normal after a time), the pale central inner filters that it constructs remain visible. The meshes of these filters are so fine that they trap bacteria-sized and smaller particles. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2017.

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