Pleurobranchus membranaceus - feeding

November 19, 2003
From: Jim Anderson

Dear Dr. Rudman,
The attached photo of Pleurobranchus membranaceus was taken on 16 Nov 03 at South Gortein reef, Loch Fyne on the west coast of Scotland. Sea temperature 12 deg C.

This animal was one of several found at 20 metres in an agregation of 20-30, in sizes range from approx 28 to 50 mm in length. Other larger agregations of around 50-75 animals were found in adajacent areas about 50 metres apart at 8 metres where previously they had been observed mating in previous mass sighting in 2002 but not seen at this site earlier this year. Many of the animals in the shallower groups were feeding on large solitary ascidians with a long white tube everted into the body of the ascidian.

Kind regards,
Jim A

Anderson, J., 2003 (Nov 19) Pleurobranchus membranaceus - feeding. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Jim,
Nice to get another record of this species feeding. We are a bit short of information on pleurobranch feeding so all observations like this are welcome. I have included a copy of your uncropped photo alongside as I am fascinated by the density of brittle stars. I know they are a classic feature of some northern European sea bottoms. Do the pleurobranchs just ignore them? or do they halt and retract every time they encounter a brittle star arm?
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Nov 19). Comment on Pleurobranchus membranaceus - feeding by Jim Anderson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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