Flabellina bicolor feeding

January 26, 2007
From: Leanne & David Atkinson

Hi Bill,
We found this Flabellina bicolor and it looks as if it is feeding on hydroids like the one in Nicholas Missendon's message #18485. We managed to get some close up shots of the head. Can you tell if it is feeding?

Locality: The Pipeline, Port Stephens, 12 metres, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific, 26 August 2006, Silty sand bottom with scattered sponges, ascidians, soft corals, hydroids and bryozoans. Length: approximately 30mm. Photographer: Leanne & David Atkinson.

Leanne & David Atkinson


Atkinson, L. & D., 2007 (Jan 26) Flabellina bicolor feeding. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19274

Dear Leanne & David,
The little white stalked 'blobs' in your photos are definitely hydroids, so I feel pretty confident in saying that I suspect this animal is feeding. Often when aeolids are feeding like this you will see the head jerk back every now and then, which is when it pulls off the polyp. These animals have large jaw plates on either side of the mouth which they use to 'bite' off the individual polyps or part of the polyps. The edge of the jaws is often not strong enough to bite through the prey, so they use the jaw plates to hold the prey tight and rip it off with a quick backwards jerk of the head.

One thing I can see on the head is a rather obvious extra pair of oral tentacles - another one for the abnormalities page.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Jan 26). Comment on Flabellina bicolor feeding by Leanne & David Atkinson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19274


Flabellina bicolor

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