Discodoris lilacina from South Africa

July 25, 1999
From: Ernest C.J. Seamark

This specimen was collected 13 Dec 1997 at Treasure Beach intertidal zone, South Africa. When photographing in a tub into which formalin had spilt, this species contracted and the notum split into two large "scales", which came off the notum. Do other nuds have this hard scale covering over the notum.

[Treasure Beach is in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.]


Seamark, E.C.J., 1999 (Jul 25) Discodoris lilacina from South Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1049

Dear Ernest,
This is Discodoris lilacina. One chracteristic of this species is its ability to break off all or parts of the mantle skirt when it is disturbed .. and I guess being bathed in formalin would count as being upset. This ability to break off parts of the body, like a skink breaks off its tail, is called autotomy. Look at the autotomy page for examples of some of the opisthobranchs that are able to do this. In fact another name for this species is Discodoris fragilis - the 'fragile' Discodoris - and the original description of D. lilacina likened it to a trilobite in shape, because the specimen examined had cast off all the mantle skirt except around the head.

Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Jul 25). Comment on Discodoris lilacina from South Africa by Ernest C.J. Seamark. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1049

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