very warm water this year has led to unusual inverts for the area
2nd photo was taken later in the day
Planktonic tunicates (a kind of primitive, chordate animal). They can produce both sexually and asexually, quickly forming blooms of long chains of clonal individuals.
This specimen, washed with many others up on the beach, represents the solitary phase of the salps' unusual life history, which features alternating solitary and colonial generations. The next generation - a ribbon of small salps that will spend their lives joined together - can be seen coiled inside parent, awaiting release.
The Thaliacea comprise a class of marine animals within the subphylum Tunicata. Unlike their benthic relatives the ascidians, thaliaceans are free-floating (pelagic) for their entire lifespan. The group includes species with complex life cycles with both solitary and colonial forms.