New name for Aiptasia-feeding aeolid

August 20, 2005
From: Bill Rudman

Angel Valdes has recently named a species of Aeolidiella from Florida as A. stephanieae. This is the animal which Stephen Kempf has done so much work on, under the name Berghia verrucicornis and which I have long doubted was the same as the Mediterranean species [see message #6472].  It has been sold under that name in the aquarium trade as a way of cleaning Aiptasia infestations from aquaria. [see also 'Berghia verrucicornis' - in aquaria Page ]

Although not cited by Valdes, there are a number of important publications by Steve Kempf concerning this species, under the name B. verrucicornis. Steve suggests that the short-term retention of zooxanthella in the ceratal digestive gland illustrates a very early stage in the evolutionary process which led to solar-powered sea slugs.

  • Carroll, D.J. and S.C. Kempf. (1994). Changes occur in the central nervous system of the nudibranch Berghia verrucicornis (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia) during metamorphosis. Biological Bulletin, 186: 202-212.
  • Kempf, S.C. (1991). A "primitive" symbiosis between the aeolid nudibranch Berghia verrucicornis and a zooxanthella. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 57: 75-85.
  • Carroll, D.J. and S.C. Kempf. (1990). Laboratory culture of the aeolid nudibranch Berghia verrucicornis (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia): Some aspects of its development and life history. Biological Bulletin,. 179: 243-253.
  • Valdés, A. (2005)  A new species of Aeolidiella Bergh, 1867 (Mollusca, Nudibranchia: Aeolidiidae) from the Florida Keys, USA. The Veliger, 47: 218-223.

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Aug 20) New name for Aiptasia-feeding aeolid. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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