Aeolidia papillosa from New York

September 2, 1999
From: Betsey Hansen

I identified this one as Aeolidia papillosa from Andrew J. Martinez's book
"Marine Life of the North Atlantic," however, my luck with identifying these on my own has been terrible. This is the most common sea slug in my area.

This shot was taken at about 12 feet (4 meters) in the Atlantic off New York. You can see the eggs to the left. I have hundreds of pictures of these slugs. Sometimes the eggs are white and sometimes orange. The coloring of the slugs also ranges from orange to brown. The size ranges from one inch to four inches. This year they were particularly large. I have seen this slugs feeding on anemones. I have plenty of other shots if you want to see some more. I even have some showing them laying eggs.
Best regards,
Betsey Hansen

Hansen, E., 1999 (Sep 2) Aeolidia papillosa from New York. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Betsey,
Your identification is correct, but don't worry about getting names wrong. The identity of the species of Flabellina (=Coryphella) in the North Atlantic for most of this century has been in a state of confusion, even amongst the 'experts'. Species were named on the slightest colour differences, and little consideration was given to the possibility that a species might be found on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is why I am happy to display as much colour variation as possible. It is the only way, other than extensive personal collecting, for us to get an understanding of the range of variation within a species. So it goes without question, that I would welcome some more shots showing colour variation in A. papillosa and its eggs.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Sep 2). Comment on Aeolidia papillosa from New York by Betsey Hansen. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Aeolidia papillosa

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