Elysia tomentosa

Photo Credit: Katharina Händeler, Yvonne P. Grzymbowski, Patrick J. Krug & Heike Wägele*


Description: Medium-sized slug (to 50 mm), characterized by pappilose (i.e., hairy) and undulating parapodia.   Because its natural food plants include Caulerpa, it is being studied as a possible biological control agent for introduced Caulerpa species.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific (probable; Sea Slug Forum)

Food Plants: Caulerpa (e.g., Handeler et al., 2010)

Scientific Papers:

Krug, P.J., Vendetti, J.E., Rodriguez, A.K., Retana, J.N., Hirano, Y.M., Trowbridge, C.D. (2013) Integrative species delimitation in photosynthetic sea slugs reveals twenty candidate species in three nominal taxa studied for drug discovery, plastid symbiosis or biological control. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 69 (3), pp. 1101-1119. Abstract [BC] [NH] [NP] [To]

Handeler, K., Wagele, H., Wahrmund, U., Rudinger, M., Knoop, V. (2010) Slugs’ last meals: Molecular identification of sequestered chloroplasts from different algal origins in Sacoglossa (Opisthobranchia, Gastropoda). Molecular Ecology Resources, 10 (6), pp. 968-978. PDF [Pu] [To] [Vi]

Baumgartner, F.A., Motti, C.A., De Nys, R., Paul, N.A. (2009) Feeding preferences and host associations of specialist marine herbivores align with quantitative variation in seaweed secondary metabolites. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 396, pp. 1-12. PDF [F] [NP] [To]

Burfeind, D.D., Tibbetts, I.R., Udy, J.W. (2009) Grazing rates of Elysia tomentosa on native and introduced Caulerpa taxifolia. Hydrobiologia, 632 (1), pp. 355-358. PDF [BC] [F] [NH] [To]

Evertsen, J., Burghardt, I., Johnsen, G., Wägele, H. (2007) Retention of functional chloroplasts in some sacoglossans from the indo-pacific and Mediterranean. Marine Biology, 151 (6), pp. 2159-2166. PDF [K] [Pu] [Ti] [To]

*”Elysia tomentosa” by Katharina Händeler, Yvonne P. Grzymbowski, Patrick J. Krug & Heike Wägele – Händeler K., Grzymbowski Y. P., Krug P. J. & Wägele H. (2009) “Functional chloroplasts in metazoan cells – a unique evolutionary strategy in animal life”. Frontiers in Zoology 6: 28. doi:10.1186/1742-9994-6-28 Figure 1G. Cropped and background altered by User:Snek01.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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