Cratena capensis? from South Africa

July 27, 2000
From: Valda Fraser

Dear Bill
Another one to add to the "Cratena confusion." I hope you will be able to come up with something.

Locality: Umzumbe, south coast of KwaZulu-Natal SOUTH AFRICA
Date: 28 May 2000
Size: 35mm
Valda Fraser

Fraser, V., 2000 (Jul 27) Cratena capensis? from South Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Valda,
I would very much like Terry Gosliner's comments on this animal. In his book the animal he identifies as Cratena capensis Barnard, 1927 has quite distinctive pigmented white caps to the cerata, while your animal just has the translucent white of the cnidosac. Both your animal and his have red spots on the head, but the rhinophores in his C. capensis are proportionally much smaller. He notes that C. capensis has angular rather than tentacular foot corners, but I can't clearly see that in his book.

Your animal looks quite like Gosliner's Cratena sp. 1 which he says differs in having proportionally larger rhinophores, cerata and oral tentacles, which is the case in your photo. Your animal also has tentacular foot corners but I am not sure whether Gosliner's Cratena sp. 1 has red spots on the head.

I realise you may not know what a foot corner is. It is the name we give to the corners of the anterior edge of the foot. In some species these corners are rounded, while at the other extreme they are developed into quite long tapering tentacles. It is definitely worth noting the presence of foot corners, and getting them in a photo if possible, because often after prservation they contract or disappear.

I'm afraid this doesn't solve your Cratena problem, but it would be boring if we knew it all. As this is the first unknown Cratena-like aeolid I have on the Forum, I will, like Terry Gosliner, temporarily call it Cratena sp. 1.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jul 27). Comment on Cratena capensis? from South Africa by Valda Fraser. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Cratena? sp. 1

Related messages

  1. Cratena sp. from Durban, South Africa
    From: Kirsty Miller, June 7, 2001
  2. Re: Cratena sp. 1 from South Africa
    From: Terry Gosliner, July 28, 2000

Show factsheet and all related messages