Aplysia brasiliana = Aplysia fasciata?

March 25, 2004
From: Bill Rudman

Vinicius Anderson's photos [#12499] of an aplysiid from Brazil, is convincing evidence that the eastern Atlantic species, Aplysia fasciata, also occurs in the west Atlantic. The corollary of that is that Aplysia brasiliana should be considered a west Atlantic population of Aplysia fasciata, as the only real difference between the two 'species' is their geographic distribution.

The anatomy of Aplysia brasiliana [see Eales, 1960; Marcus & Marcus, 1955] shows no significant differences to that of A. fasciata [see Thompson, 1976] in general shape, reproductive anatomy, radula morphology or nature of the mantle glands. Of particular relevance is a laboratory study of intra-specific mating between A. fasciata and A. brasiliana [see Susswein et al., 1993] which showed that in mating behaviour the two 'species' acted as though they were a single species. From published work on the larval biology of Aplysia, and on many amphiatlantic species, the authors considered that the evidence strongly suggested that A. fasciata and A. brasiliana were east Atlantic and west Atlantic populations of the one species. The presence sometimes of a pinkish red border to the parapodia, was the only real character separating the east Atlantic population from the west Atlantic population. The presence of a red-lined individual in Brazil clearly removes this last distinction. If my proposal is accepted, the oldest name for this species is Aplysia fasciata.

• Eales, N.B. (1960) Revision of the world species of Aplysia (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology, 5(10): 267-404.
• Marcus, Ev. & Marcus, Er. (1955) Sea-hares and side-gilled slugs from Brazil. Boletim do Instituto Oceanografico, 6(1-2): 3-48.
• Marcus, Ev. & Marcus, Er. (1957) Notes on Aplysia. Boletim do Instituto Oceanografico 8(1-2): 3-22.
• Marcus, Ev. (1972) On the Anaspidea (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) of the warm waters of the western Atlantic. Bulletin of marine Science, 22(4): 841-874.
• Susswein, A.J., Markovitch, S. & Achituv, Y. (1993) Asymmetry of male and female mating in mixed-species groups of Aplysia fasciata Poiret and Aplysia brasiliana Rang (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Israel Journal of Zoology, 39: 213-229.
• Thompson, T.E. (1976) Biology of opisthobranch molluscs. Vol. 1. Ray Society no. 151, London. 207 pages. (21 Pls.)
• Wirtz, P. (1998) Opisthobranch Molluscs from the Azores. Vita Marina, 45(1-2): 1-16

Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Mar 25) Aplysia brasiliana = Aplysia fasciata?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/12545


Aplysia fasciata

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