Identity of Aplysiopsis cf. formosa

July 22, 2002
From: Bill Rudman

To accompany Kathe's comments on Aplysiopsis cf. formosa here are a couple of illlustrations from Pruvot-Fol's original description, as it is not easy to obtain.

Aplysiopsis formosa: Upper: Plate 12, fig. 21. Lower: radula - Fig 14a,b. [Pruvot-Fol, 1953]

Although I don't have easy access to either Kathe's redescription (Jensen, 1995) or Ortea et al (1990), I do have a copy of Kerry Clark's (1982) description of A. zebra, which Kathe says is a synonym. Certainly the colour and shape, including the same green longitudinal bands down the sole of the foot appear identical in both the southern Australian and Atlantic animals, seem almost identical. The main difference is that Pruvot-Fol describes a reddish brown tip to the cerata of A. formosa. Clark illustrates a dark ceratal tip in A. zebra in his black & white drawing, but does not mention its colour in his description other than to say it was not reddish when comparing it with A. formosa. I can see no similar colour band at the tip of the southern Australian animals.

Another difference which may be important is that Clark describes the egg mass of A. zebra as "a non-adhesive string wound around the algae" (Cladophora prolifera), which is not how I would describe the egg mass of the southern Australian animals - see photo.

Clearly we need to examine the anatomy of this animal before it identity can be clarified.

• Clark, K.B. 1982. A new Aplysiopsis (Opisthobranchia: Hermaeidae) from central Florida, with a brief summary of the ceratiform families of the order Ascoglossa (= Sacoglossa). Bulletin of marine Science, 32(1): 213-219.
• Jensen, K.R. 1995. Anatomy and biology of Aplysiopsis formosa Pruvot-Fol (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia, Sacoglossa) from the Azores. Acoreana, Suppl. 1995: 217-230.
• Pruvot-Fol, A. 1953. Etudes de quelques opisthobranches de la cote Atlantic du Maroc et du Senegal. Travaux de l'Institut Scientifique Cherifien, Zoologie, 5: 1-105.
• Ortea, J. Bacallado, J.J. & Sanchez, J.M.P. 1990. Aplysiopsis formosa Pruvot-Fol, 1953 (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia, Ascoglossa) in the Canary Islands. Lavori della Societa Italiana di Malacologia, Napoli, 23: 281-285.

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 22) Identity of Aplysiopsis cf. formosa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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