Berghia columbina? from the Gulf of Mexico

February 9, 2004
From: Lynn Zurik

Hi Bill,
I'm trying to figure out which species this is. This little guy hitchhiked in on some live rock from the Gulf of Mexico. I had had the rock for almost 2 months before I even saw him. Thankfully, he's all but taken care of the Aiptasia that also came with the rock. Thank you so much for you help.

Lynn Zurik

Zurik, L., 2004 (Feb 9) Berghia columbina? from the Gulf of Mexico. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Lynn,
By an amazing coincidence I prepared a message yesterday, for posting today, [see #12149] suggesting that the Spanish aeolid Berghia columbina was almost certainly the same as the Caribbean Berghia rissodominguezi. And today I get your message which is certainly about an adult of this species. I would be very interested in some idea of the length of your animal.

We don't know very much about this species, but it seems the most characteristic external feature is the orange curved lines that run along the inside base of each group of cerata. The lines are not that clear in your photo but they are definitely there. It is not unusual in aeolids to see colour markings varying in intensity, perhaps it needs pigment from the anemones it feeds on to enhance its colour pattern. Other distinguishing points are the papillate rhinophores with a yellow upper half and an orange lower band. The animals we already have illustrated on the Forum are most probably juveniles, but like your animal, they have indications of a subterminal yellow band on the cerata.

When I first saw your photos I thought this aeolid was a glaucid of some sort, but your mention that it had helped solve your Aiptasia problem suggests that it is a member of the Aeolidiidae, a family which specialises on eating sea anemones. It's a pity you have only one animal because it would be nice to see whether this was a species which could be captive bred in aquaria. Have a look at the page I have on the species of Berghia which has become a sought after saviour of Aiptasia infested aquaria. It is one nudibranch which can be captive bred.

What should you call your animal? I am pretty sure that the Spanish animal, Berghia columbina, is the same as the Caribbean B. rissodominguezi, so as Berghia columbina is 9 years older, it is the name we should use. Before changing names on the Forum however, I am giving colleagues the opportunity to discuss the matter.

Thanks for the photos,
Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 9). Comment on Berghia columbina? from the Gulf of Mexico by Lynn Zurik. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Re: Berghia columbina? from the Gulf of Mexico
    From: Lynn Zurik, February 11, 2004
  2. Berghia rissodominguezi = B. columbina
    From: Bill Rudman, February 9, 2004
  3. Berghia rissodominguezi from Colombia
    From: Bill Rudman, October 17, 2003
  4. Flabellina? from Colombia
    From: Elianny Dominguez Tejo , September 14, 2001

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