Your Atys sp is Liloa curta

December 22, 1998
From: Clay Carlson

I think your Atys sp. is the same as what we are presently calling Liloa curta (A. Adams, 1850).  I have attached a scan of a 16mm specimen from Pago Bay (3m), Guam; 14 Sept. 1971.  The male genital system is similar to that that Bob Burn drew for L. brevis.  The gizzard plates differ from most of the presently described haminoeid forms in that they have 45-50
low ridges with a single row of 'dominate' rods on each ridge--these flanked by smaller rods toward the center of the row.  The amount of dark pigment can vary from just a few small spots to an almost total cover.
The type for curta has gone bye-bye.  I have attached a scan of Pilsbry's type for Haminoea curta tomaculum on  which he based the subgenus Liloa. [Holotype: Shell length 12.5 x 5.5mm; ANSP #17073]. Pilsbry (1921) treated tomaculum as a separate species; Kay (1979) synonymized tomaculum and curta.  We have other bits and pieces in our collection from the Philippines and Indonesia that suggest the presence of other species that would fit the 'Liloa' classification.
Concerning Atys cylindrica. Helbling should be in (  ) and some will fuss about the ending on cylindrica]
We enjoyed your 'bubble' section.  It's good to see a living representatives of many things that up until now have been shell only.
Clay Carlson

Carlson, C. & Hoff, P.J., 1998 (Dec 22) Your Atys sp is Liloa curta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

A few days ago I posted the picture above and identified it as "Atys sp" and noted:
"This species must have a name, or three or four. It is quite common subtidally in New Caledonia and most probably is much more widely distributed."

Thanks Clay,
I didn't expect such a rapid response. I'm glad the Bubble Shells have struck a popular chord. They are the first opisthobranchs I took an interest in, and although not as spectacular as nudibranchs, we have much to learn about their biology and natural history.
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1998 (Dec 22). Comment on Your Atys sp is Liloa curta by Clay Carlson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Liloa curta

Related messages

  1. Liloa curta from the Red Sea
    From: Binyamin Koretz, October 14, 2005

Show factsheet and all related messages