The original marine source for it is a tunicate with a rounded, leathery body and two short siphons. It lives in shallow waters of around 6 meters on reefs, pilings and other hard surfaces in shallow waters usually on the submerged roots of mangroves. It can be found in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Mediterranean Sea, and occasionally as far north as Chesapeake Bay.
The walls of the individual zooids are known as tunics and are strengthened with cellulose, something unusual in animals. They use siphons to connect to their marine environments. The outer siphon surfaces are orange, which is a colorful warning off to potential predators, as well as the sea squirt’s acrid taste.