Atys ehrenbergi from the Red Sea

May 4, 2005
From: Binyamin Koretz

Dear Bill,

We thought that this would be the Red Sea endemic Atys ehrenbergi (Issel, 1869), based on photos we've seen of dead shells. Do you have any information on this species?

Locality: Eilat, Satil Area, Israel. Red Sea (Gulf of Eilat). Depth: 24 m. Length: ca. 1.5 cm. 30 Apr 2005 (night). sea grass and patch reef. Photographer: Binyamin and Shulamit Koretz

Best regards,

Koretz, B., 2005 (May 4) Atys ehrenbergi from the Red Sea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Binyamin,
Your animal looks to me like a typical juvenile Atys naucum, which have these axial brown lines, absent in adults.

As you say, the name Atys ehrenbergi has been used in some checklists and websites. I was interested in the use of the name so I had a look at Issel's original description and find that Alicula ehrenbergi Issel 1869 is based on a single white fossil shell  - with no colour lines visible. [Issel, 1869: p281-2. Pl. 4, fig 6] the shell was 4.5 mm high x 2.75 mm wide.

The general shape looks similar, but without any further information, there is no way the brown-lined shell presently identified with A. ehrenbergi can be confidently identified as that species. I see no reason not to identify it as A. naucum, which is a 100 years older name anyway.

  • Issel, A. (1869) Malacologia del Mar Rosso. Biblioteca Malacologica: Pisa. 1-387, 5 Pls [Description in: Parte Terza: Cataloga delle Cochiglie fosiili raccolte sulle spiagge del Mar Rosso].

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (May 4). Comment on Atys ehrenbergi from the Red Sea by Binyamin Koretz. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Atys naucum

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