Re: Vaucheria? and Limapontia capitata

November 6, 2009
From: Skip Pierce

Concerning message #22753:

Hi Bill
I am certainly NOT an algae expert-especially outside of the east coast of the US (and if an algal pro sends a different answer, disregard everything I've said below), but I have spent decades collecting and culturing Vaucheria litorea for our work with Elysia chlorotica. Possibly the alga in these photos is indeed Vaucheria, but there are several sorts of non-descript, filamentous, mat-forming, marsh dwelling species that it might be. In situ, Vaucheria has a sort of distinctive muddy brown color, compared to the lighter, sort of chartrusey and bright greens of the chlorophytes (Vaucheria is a chromophyte), but I may be able to see both colors in the photos (and indeed Vaucheria and filamentous chlorophytes, like Enteromorpha, are often mixed in the same mat-and also indeed one of the photos in the message sort of looks like that). Best way to tell until you have had a lot of practice is to look at the filaments with a microscope. Vaucheria is coenocytic (has no cell walls). All of the other species that it might be will have obvious cells in the filaments. If there are no cell walls, then it PROBABLY is Vaucheria. Seems like I recall a paper or two on feeding of Limapontia?? but I can't put a finger on it. No doubt Kathe Jensen will know if such exists (and she may have written it!!)


Pierce, S. K., 2009 (Nov 6) Re: Vaucheria? and Limapontia capitata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Skip,

Thanks for you comments. I remember how amazed I was the first time I checked out greenish filamentous algae under a microscope and saw just how different each species was. We have a message from Liz Summer's with a macrophoto of Vaucheria [message #1969].

Here a couple of relevant papers by Kathe:

  • Jensen, K. R. (1975). Food preference and food consumption in relation to growth of Limapontia capitata. Ophelia  14: 1-14.
  • Jensen, K. R. (1981). Observations on feeding methods in some Florida ascoglossans. Journal of Molluscan Studies 47: 190-199.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Nov 6). Comment on Re: Vaucheria? and Limapontia capitata by Skip Pierce. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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