Cyerce elegans
Bergh, 1870

Family: Caliphyllidae


Originally described from the Sulu Sea and more recently from Hawaii, I have observed it in New Caledonia and on the east coast of Australia. Bergh illustrates a `variety' from Mauritius, and identical specimens I have from east Africa suggest a wide Indo-West Pacific distribution.


off Koumac, New Caledonia, 10m, Sand and grey mud, October 1993, 48mm long alive. PHOTO: Bill Rudman.

These amazingly shaped sacoglossans have large flattened leaf-like 'cerata' which are easily cast-off if the animal is disturbed. This cryptic species resembles a brown algal plant, while others, like the brilliantly coloured Cyerce nigricans, appear to have evolved aposematic warning colouration. In the lower photo the head and bifurcate enrolled rhinophores are clearly visible.

• Bergh, L.S.R. (1870). Malacologische Untersuchungen. In: C.G. Semper, Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen, Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 2, Heft 1: 1-30, Pls. 1-8.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (June 22) Cyerce elegans Bergh, 1870. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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