This creature is an animal called Distaplia smithii, or the paddle ascidian. Of all the invertebrates, the ascidians are our closest relatives, having a tubular nerve cord with a swollen front end that forms a primitive brain when they are in the embryonic stages, similar to our embryos. Once they reach a certain point, they lose this cord and brain and settle down on rocks, becoming more like the invertebrates we are used to. But they are classed as Urochordates—below the chordates (us) and above the invertebrates (no backbone). Maybe TMI, but interesting, nonetheless.
Back to Distaplia. This organism is colonial, with a bright orange tunic surrounding many smaller individuals within each “paddle.” The individuals are all connected with each other within the tunic so that their “blood” and food materials are shared, but each individual collects food on its own. They live on rocks in deeper, colder waters and are pulled loose with strong swells or storms. And, surprisingly, they have sexual reproduction with the testes and eggs developing in January and February each year. Awesome!