The true identity of Stylocheilus longicauda

August 5, 1999
From: Bill Rudman

Betsey Hansen's photo of a bright yellow Stylocheilus from the Caribbean was the stimulus I needed to present my ideas on the true identity of Stylocheilus longicauda and Stylocheilus citrina. Since finding bright yellow and green animals of Stylocheilus in Tanzania in 1976 I have always thought that it fitted Quoy & Gaimard's description of Stylocheilus longicauda much better than the lined species which usually bore the name.

I have presented my ideas, with photos of all the original illustrations in a separate page. I propose that the yellow species is the true Stylocheilus longicauda and the lined species should be called Stylocheilus striata. I realise it will be inconvenient to change the usage of a name attached to such a common animal but I can see no good grounds to ask the International Commission to act. The only solution would be to suppress the name Stylocheilus longicauda which would still mean that the common lined species would have to have a new name. I think in this case we just have to admit that past workers have got it wrong. I have discussed this with Clay Carlson and Terry Gosliner who have both independently reached the same conclusion.
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Aug 5) The true identity of Stylocheilus longicauda. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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