Pleurobranchaea meckelii from the French Mediterranean

July 11, 2008
From: Dominique Horst

Concerning message #14055:

Hello Bill,

This should be Pleurobranchaea meckelii (or is it meckeli?).
We've met this species in the same area as Aglaja tricolorata and it seems to live on mud too. This one was one-eyed...

Locality: Cagnes, 8 m, France, Mediterranean sea, 1 July 2008, muddy. Length: 120 mm. Photographer: Elisabeth Juan.

Best regards,

Horst, D., 2008 (Jul 11) Pleurobranchaea meckelii from the French Mediterranean. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Dom,

Species of Pleurobranchaea all look very similar externally. It is possible that there could be more than one species in the Mediterranean but I am following Lucas Cervera's advice in identifying them all as P. meckelii until a comprehensive study is done.

Concerning the spelling of the name. The International Rules recommend the use of a single i in making up names based on a person's name but since the name of this species was first published with two, we have to continue to spell it meckelii.

Your animal looks like it has been in a fight, its left rhinophore is gone and part of the mantle and the gill seem to be damaged. A likely possibility is that it has been 'mouthed' by a fish and spat out when the acid glands all over its skin began exuded their noxious milky white secretions. You can see these glands - they are the opaque bright white patches on the skin. I am not sure if it has actually lost its left eye. The eyes in these animals are in the body cavity just below the skin. You can see them through the transparent skin, just below the rhinophores. Have a look at the upper photo of P. inconspicua in Jim Lyle's message [#13265]. The eye is the little black spot just below the right rhinophore.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Jul 11). Comment on Pleurobranchaea meckelii from the French Mediterranean by Dominique Horst. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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