Aeolidia papillosa - Mating and Feeding

May 24, 2005
From: Philipp Kauffmann

Hello everybody,

Here are two pictures showing two seaslugs. Is it Aeolidia papillosa or Aeolidiella glauca? It looks like they pairing. If yes, how do they do it?

The third picture shows a single Aeolidia papillosa. Is she feeding on the sea anemone Sagartia troglodytes?

Locality: Oosteschelde, Netherlands. Depth: 10 m. Length: 6-7 cm. 16 May 2005. Photographer: Philipp Kauffmann

Thanks a lot!

Kauffmann, P. F., 2005 (May 24) Aeolidia papillosa - Mating and Feeding. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Philipp,
These are all Aeolidia papillosa. You can see traces of the white V marking this species has on the head. The arms of the V run out on to the oral tentacles. In your feeding photo it looks like the animal has its oral tube everted out over another anemone. Or perhaps it is out in preparation for attacking the one in your photo. This species feeds on a variety of sea anemones.

I guess the animals in your photo alongside are mating - or preparing to. All  nudibrnachs are hermaphrodite, with a full set of male and female organs. At mating they usually both act as male and female. As the reproductive openings are on the right side of the body, when you see two individuals with their right sides together, you can be fairly confident that they are mating, or about to.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (May 24). Comment on Aeolidia papillosa - Mating and Feeding by Philipp Kauffmann. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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