Tritoniopsis frydis in aquarium

March 20, 2008
From: Emily Hetrick

I am interested in knowing whether or not this sea slug is Tritoniopsis frydis. I found it in my aquarium on one of my gorgonians. The aquarium is set up in part to be a haven for Caribbean Elysia spp. and includes three gorgonians (two of which I know were collected from Florida waters) as well as macroalgaes that were collected at the same time as the coral. Although I purchased these items several months ago, I can only assume that the hitchhiking sea slug smuggled its way into my aquarium via either the coral or the algae.

Two of the gorgonians in the tank I feel reasonably certain are of the genus Pterogorgia. I am not as confident of my identification of the gorgonian that I found this sea slug on, however I believe it is a Pseudopterogorgia spp. I am not sure if I have the gorgonians that this slug is believed to feed on, but it must be eating as it has survived for several months.

Length: 1.5 cm approx.. Photographer: E. Hetrick.

Thank you for your assistance.
Emily Hetrick

Hetrick, E., 2008 (Mar 20) Tritoniopsis frydis in aquarium. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Emily,
It certainly looks like Tritonopsis frydis, which on the available evidence, seems to feed on a variety of Caribbean gorgonians.

This diet certainly separates it from the very similar looking Indo-West Pacific species Tritoniopsis elegans which feeds on solid unbranching soft corals such as Lobophyton. T. elegans is often found uninivited in aquaria as it hitches a ride, as a tint juvenile, on soft coral colonies.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Mar 20). Comment on Tritoniopsis frydis in aquarium by Emily Hetrick. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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