Rock Gunnel Now here is a phylum humans can relate to. Mainly because we belong to it. This last animal phylum features three main characteristics: Notochord, dorsal nerve cord, and gill slits (or in our case lungs). Tunicates, Fish, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians feature these characteristics. Though tunicates have them in the larval stage only. Growing singly, or in colonies these sessile animals have incurrent and excurrent oppenings. They also have a tough leathery tunic on the exterior.

The picture above shows an animal you may see in the Chordata phylum. It is a rock eel or gunnel. These yellow-olive colored fish hide under rocks in mats of Rockweed. If you see one be very carefull in catching it, they get away easily and squirm when disturbed. Look for this fish to eat shrimp, worms, and shelfish, and be eated by cod, pollack and seabirds. Try finding one in tidepools at middle and lower intertidal zones. It should have brown spots along the dorsal fin and a pale body.

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