Re: Elysia anatomy

July 15, 2003
From: Skip Pierce

Hi Bill
A quick comment with respect to your message last week about Elysia physiology. While the data are relatively few, if you shine a light on an Elysia and measure oxygen, you'll find that there is a net oxygen production. The symbiotic plastids produce (way) more oxygen than the animal consumes under daylight conditions. So it's possible that the vascularization on the dorsal surface is to get rid of excess oxygen, rather than take it up. You always have to think like a plant with elysiids.

Thanks Skip,
Trying to simplify complicated issues can itself be complicated. I hoped I had covered this point by mentioning the removal of wastes and photosynthetic products. I assume the chloroplasts need a supply of oxygen when the sun [or light] is not on. Considering how close the chloroplasts are to the thin body wall, I wonder if much of the gas exchange [oxygen, carbon dioxide etc] is done directly through the body wall? Has any work been done to address this point?
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Jul 15). Comment on Re: Elysia anatomy by Skip Pierce. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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