Gills of Phyllidia flava

October 16, 2009
From: Marcel Tanke

Dear Bill,
My wife and I found a Phyllidia flava on green algae(?). In the top picture the mantle is translucent and through it, the foot / body can be clearly seen. The small part on the back of the body is the anus?

When we moved to the other side of the animal we saw that it seemed to 'float' on the green algae, with the edge of its mantle raised. It was not 'mantle flapping ', just stationary.

Later at home, I was surprised to see in this picture that the gills extend to about the full left side of the body. Is this gill size normal for all Phyllidia? Do the gills extend even to the other side of the body, eg more than 180 degrees of the body 'circle'?

Locality: Porte Juan / Cannes, 20 m, France, Mediterranean Sea, 27 August 2009, Rocky bottom. Length: about 3 cm. Photographer: Marcel Tanke.

Best regards,

Tanke, M.A., 2009 (Oct 16) Gills of Phyllidia flava. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Marcel,

One of the characteristics of the phyllidiids are these secondary gills which run as a band along each side of the body below the mantle skirt. Each individual 'gill' is a thin triangular leaflet. I have a photo of the gills of P. ocellata on the page discussing torsion.

It is quite difficult to photogrpah these gills in living animals because as soon as you turn them over they attempt to twist the right way up - so thanks for this photo

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Oct 16). Comment on Gills of Phyllidia flava by Marcel Tanke. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Phyllidia flava

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