Rostanga rubra from Turkey

June 2, 2010
From: Hakan Kabasakal

Dear Bill,

I shot this photograph of Rostanga rubra (Risso, 1818) in the northeastern Sea of Marmara, a fragile ecosystem under heavy anthropogenic impacts for the last 50 years. Although it is associated with sponges Microciona spp. or Halichondria spp., this specimen was seen browsing on green algae, Ulva spp.

Locality: Dar?ca, 6 metres, Turkey, Sea of Marmara, 9 May 2010, Sea weed. Length: ca. 20 mm. Photographer: Hakan Kabasakal.

Best regards,

Hakan Kabasakal

Kabasakal, H., 2010 (Jun 2) Rostanga rubra from Turkey. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Hakan,

Species of Rostanga are very specific sponge feeders so although your animal was crawling over green algae I can be pretty sure that it was not eating it. Many years ago I used to wonder why I often found the common intertidal species of Rostanga in Sydney, R. arbutus, crawling over brown algae in rock pools apparently browsing. I later discovered that the red sponge it feeds on, the microcionid Clathria aceratoobtusa, lives hidden in crevices in the sandstone rock, so we could never actually see it feeding.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2010 (Jun 2). Comment on Rostanga rubra from Turkey by Hakan Kabasakal. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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