Phyllaplysia from Sulawesi

April 5, 2006
From: Roberto Sozzani

Dear Bill,
Could this animal be a Petalifera? Looks very similar to Petalifera ramosa, but the body is very smooth and missing the typical colored pattern.
It was in a strange position, almost perpendicular to the coral wall: I was attracted by the nice green color, thinking it could be an unusual colored ascidian. Once closer I realized it was something I had never seen before.

Locality: Walea Island - East Sulawesi, 15 metres, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean, August 2004, Coral reef. Length: 6 cm. Photographer: Roberto Sozzani.

Thanks for any suggestion.
Best wishes
Roberto Sozzani

Sozzani, R., 2006 (Apr 5) Phyllaplysia from Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Roberto,

I was almost fooled into thinking this was the Halimeda-feeding sacoglossan Elysiella pusilla, when I suddenly noticed it had two pairs of head tentacles instead of the one pair found in sacoglossans. You can also just make out the genital opening and the start of the sperm groove which runs out to just below the right rhinophore [see Aplysiid head Fact Sheet]. So I agree this is a Sea Hare  aplysiid but it is most probably a species of Phyllaplysia not Petalifera. It certainly does look our of place.

I'm afraid the phyllaplysiids in the Indo-West Pacific have never been properly studied so I am putting them all on a Phyllaplysia spp page. ['spp' with 2 'p's is just shorthand from species plural].

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Apr 5). Comment on Phyllaplysia from Sulawesi by Roberto Sozzani. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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