Re: Elysia colors

November 2, 2005
From: Skip Pierce

Hi Bill,
I know mostly no answers to your questions [message #15134]. Could be a couple of MS theses here. However, anecdotally, many, maybe all, of the color 'granules' are actually clusters of cells. In Elysia, the food-related color changes are typically green or not, of course and are associated with the digestive tubules. I've no idea of the source of the orange, red and blue pigments (ie synthetic or food), but they are in movable cells (and actually there is more than one kind of cell, at least morphologically) and they seem to be outside the digestive system in the hemocoel and so can move anywhere the blood goes, and they do move around in the same specimen over time. As far as I am aware, there is nothing known about hemopoiesis or degradation. I've no idea what controls where they are when (although I'm wondering if the orange at the parapodial tips isn't a sunscreen, maybe). Finally, I do think that a large blue patch could be concentrated into a thin blue line, perhaps. Also an orange band made up of individual cells could disappear by simply spreading the cells out or moving them into the interstices of the hemocoel and reappear vice versa...but it's all unknown as you point out.


S. K. Pierce, 2005 (Nov 2) Re: Elysia colors. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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