Information on Elysia australis

September 11, 2000
From: Clare Norton

I was wondering if you had a photo of Elysia australis? Also, I have heard that this species is found in rockpools around Sydney and Wollongong. If this is correct, I was wondering if you knew of any localities where they are likely to be found? I am interested because I have to do a project for uni about developing an experiment to sample E. australis. I don't actually have to conduct the experiment but I have searched for them without success and it would greatly help me to design an experiment if I could actually observe some in the field.
Thanks for your time and help,
Clare Norton

Norton, C., 2000 (Sep 11) Information on Elysia australis. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Clare,
I've prepared a page with some photos showing the colour range of this often common little Elysia. It is certainly common at times around Sydney and Wollongong [central New South Wales]. The best place to look is on intertidal rock platforms in places which stay wet at low tide. Not so much deep pools but shallow depressions which retain a centimeter or so of water. One good place, but there are many others like it, is Newport in northern Sydney, where most of the rock platform at low tide consists of shallow depressions in which small algal plants thrive.

Like many sacoglossans, E. australis is not that easy to see because much of its colour comes from the chloroplasts of the algae it has recently eaten. I have included a photo alongside of a juvenile (3-4mm long) from Newport keeping the company of a juvenile limpet Cellana tramoserica. I guess the easiest (or only) way to find them is to find a likely spot and just sit and watch for signs of activity. Compared with other inhabitants, little Elysia crawling along, look quite busy. - and how many other people could sit at the beach on a nice sunny day contemplating a rockpool and say they were working?

Good luck with your search,
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Sep 11). Comment on Information on Elysia australis by Clare Norton. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Elysia australis