Calliopaea bellula feeding behaviour

March 26, 2009
From: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine

To complete my previous message [#22349] about Calliopaea bellula, here are the photos of Calliopaea feeding on Ercolania viridis eggs and on Haminoea eggs (I couldn't say which species, we have several ones in Arcachon).

Locality: L'Ecluse de Verdurette, Domaine de Graveyron, Audenge, Bassin d'Arcachon, 1 m, France, Atlantic , 09 October 2006. 
Upper photo: 5 mm long animal feeding on Haminoea eggs. 
Lower photo:
3.5 mm long animal feeding on Ercolania eggs. Photographer: Marina Poddubetskaia.

It's interesting to see how Calliopaea puts its head and the upper part of its body inside the egg ribbon to eat eggs. Please, let me know if you want more photos of it.

Best wishes,
Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia - Nembro website

Poddubetskaia Ossokine, 2009 (Mar 26) Calliopaea bellula feeding behaviour. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Marina,

Thanks very much. Your upper photo shows rather clearly why it is an advantage for this species to keep the front half of its body free of cerata, so that it can extend deep into egg sacs to eat the individual eggs.  Are you sure the lower egg mass is of Ercolania viridis? We have a couple of photos on the Forum of this species' egg ribbon and they are both rather different.

Be that as it may, the two different egg masses being eaten by this species suggest that it does feed on more than one species. In Coelho, Malaquias & Calado's recent report on this species, they found it would only eat the egg masses of Haminoea orbignyana. Your two different egg masses, and Bernard Picton's report of it feeding on Philine [message #680] suggest it feeds on a number of opisthobranch egg masses. The other egg masses tested by Coelho et al may well be distasteful to Calliopaea, but it does not necessarily mean that all other egg masses are.

  • Coelho, R., Malaquias, M. A. E. & Calado, G. (2006) Calliopaea bellula feeding upon egg-masses of Haminoea orbignyana: oophagy among opisthobranch molluscs. Journal of the marine biological Association, U.K., 86.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Mar 26). Comment on Calliopaea bellula feeding behaviour by Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Calliopaea bellula from Arcachon Bay
    From: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine, March 26, 2009
  2. Stiliger bellulus an egg-eating sacoglossan
    From: Bernard Picton, March 16, 1999

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