Freeze-branding slugs

February 5, 2004
From: Jay Marsh

Dear Bill,
I am doing a senior thesis on Dendronotus frondosus in a fouling community. I'm currently looking into tatto ink, and I've heard of freeze branding, but I don't know what it is. Any suggestions on marking and tracking these guys?

Marsh, J., 2004 (Feb 5) Freeze-branding slugs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Jay,
I have given a reference to tattoo marking in an earlier message and I mentioned there that I remember reading of someone marking slugs by using a freeze drying technique. From memory it destroyed the melanin producing cells and left a colourless mark. Unfortunately I can't find a reference but hopefully someone will let us know.

You don't say where you are doing your studies or what youn plan to study. Am I right in suspecting you will be working on the east coast of Nth America? If you have a look at the other messages on this page you will see there is still some confusion identifying Dendronotus in that part of the world, so it would be worth keeping a record, preferably with photos, of the colour forms or variation in colour you find in your population. You would also need to consider comparing the anatomy of animals with different colour forms to see if you are dealing with one or more species. Please let us know how things go
Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 5). Comment on Freeze-branding slugs by Jay Marsh. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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