Swimming Pleurobranchus

June 20, 2006
From: Mark Schaer

When snorkeling at night (9PM), I saw a large sea slug swimming 1 meter below the surface. It was not moving much, rather drifting than swimming. Possibly it was about to feed from detritus that was floating at the surface there.

It resembled Pleurobranchus forskalii. It's color was brown, just darker than the picture in the Species list. I could not identify gills on the back of the animal, and there was a clear distinction between mantle and foot. The overall shape was oval. It was swimming in horizontal position, mantle up, foot down.

I have never heard of a large pleurobranch swimming and I could nowhere find a report about something similar. (No - it was not an andromeda jellyfish!)

Locality: El Quadim, El Quesir, 1, Egypt, Red Sea, 15.02.2006, swimming near riff border. Length: 12 cm

Thank you for any hint.
Mark Schaer


Schaer M., 2006 (Jun 20) Swimming Pleurobranchus. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16893

Dear Mark,
Various opisthobranchs can swim [see Fact Sheet for references] and there are photos and information on the Forum about two pleurobranch species, Euselenops luniceps and Pleurobranchus membranaceus, but I can't recall any record of P. forskalii swimming. That doesn't mean that P. forskalii doesn't swim, just that it hasn't been seen doing so before. It would be nice to confirm your observations
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Jun 20). Comment on Swimming Pleurobranchus by Mark Schaer. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16893

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