Bioluminescence in nudibranchs

September 3, 1999
From: Juan Lucas Cervera

Hi Bill!

I would like to know if someone know species of nudibranchs that exhibit bioluminescence, other than Plocamopherus madeirae from Madeira Archipelago, Canary Islands and Cape Vert Archipelago (Atlantic Ocean). Are there studies about this phenomenon in nudibranchs?



Cervera, J.L., 1999 (Sep 3) Bioluminescence in nudibranchs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Lucas,
All the species of Plocamopherus apparently possess the ability to luminesce but I don't know of any studies showing how it is done. Certainly I could make the ball-shaped papillae I have illustrated in Plocamopherus imperialis luminesce when agitated (or should I say 'smartly tapped' with a pair of forceps), but there were also flashes of light all along the sides of the body on the skin as well.

I also have a memory of some pteropods luminescing but can't find a reference. If anyone has any references could they let us know please. I am demonstrating the Sea Slug Forum to the Director of the Museum tomorrow (Friday) and I want to demonstrate how interactive the site is and how quickly we, as a group, can solve each other's problems. So you have about 15 hours to send me some bioluminescence information, to demonstrate that no problem is too great for us!
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Sep 3). Comment on Bioluminescence in nudibranchs by Juan Lucas Cervera. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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