Re: Elysia cf. furvacauda page

April 8, 2000
From: Cynthia Trowbridge

Dear Bill,

I was wondering if you might be able to clarify an issue for me. I have read Brian Brandley's intriguing papers about the feeding ecology and physiology of the Australian Elysia cf. furvacauda. But in looking for dietary information for E. furvacauda, I can find no details. Burn (1998) in the Mollusca, the Southern Synthesis mentioned that the species was common in seagrass beds. I was specifically wondering whether it might eat Codium spp. Any information or thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you for your assistance!


Cynthia D. Trowbridge
Oregon State University

Trowbridge, C., 2000 (Apr 8) Re: Elysia cf. furvacauda page. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Note added 14 July 2006: See message #17114 for photo of real Elysia furvacauda.

Dear Cynthia,
I'm afraid I can't help. I know of only two references to true Elysia furvacauda from Victoria and in them Bob Burn described the animal as rare. 'dull pinkish brown colour with small blue patches'.

I don't even think there is a photo of it anywhere. I suspect the animal Brian Brandley worked on is not this species and that is why I suggested he refer to it as Elysia cf. furvacauda.

For those not familiar with Brian Brandley's paper, which is cited above, Elysia cf. furvacauda changes its diet seasonally. In Australian autumn-winter (March-July) it prefers living on the brown algae Sargassum feeding on epiphytic red algae and taking up red plastids (rhodoplasts) from the algae. In Spring (August-September) there is a transition to Codium and a change to chloroplasts (and a green colour) and by Summer a large proportion of the population were found on Codium. During the transition period animals did not photosynthesise but after a 'settling in' period the plastids become fully functional.

Cynthia, If I hear anything about 'true' E. furvacauda I will let you know.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Apr 8). Comment on Re: Elysia cf. furvacauda page by Cynthia Trowbridge. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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