Ercolania felina from New Zealand

July 4, 2000
From: Cynthia Trowbridge

Dear Bill,

With the recent discussion of the high intertidal, pool-dwelling ascoglossan (= sacoglossan) Ercolania boodleae and potential sibling species from Asia, I thought I would submit two images of the New Zealand Ercolania felina (Hutton, 1882). I worked on the ecology of this species on the North Island of New Zealand at Piha on the Tasman Sea and several sites on the east coast in the Hauraki Gulf. It is very common and feeds on the filamentous alga Chaetomorpha. Here are two relatively recent references:

•Trowbridge, C.D. (1994) Life at the edge: population dynamics and salinity tolerance of a high intertidal, pool-dwelling ascoglossan opisthobranch on New Zealand rocky shores. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 182: 65-84.
• Trowbridge, C.D. (1995) Hypodermic insemination, oviposition, and embryonic development of a pool-dwelling ascoglossan (= sacoglossan) opisthobranch: Ercolania felina (Hutton, 1882) on New Zealand shores. The Veliger, 38: 203-211.

All the best,

Cordially, Cynthia

Hatfield Marine Science Center
Oregon State University

Trowbridge, C., 2000 (Jul 4) Ercolania felina from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Cynthia,
Thanks for the photos of an old friend. It is certainly a remarkable animal living in high tidal pools on rocky shores often warm and highly saline. The title of your paper 'Life at the edge ...' is very appropriate.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.


Ercolania felina