Painted Elysia from Mexico

August 12, 2002
From: Maxi

My name is Maxi and I live and work in scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico ... Maybe this is not the place, but i would like to find information about the 'Painted Elysia'. If you can help me with this i would really appreciate it!
Thank you very much
Maxi Rodriguez Consoli
DM# 164329

Consoli. M.R., 2002 (Aug 12) Painted Elysia from Mexico. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Maxi,
This indeed the place to ask such questions. Common names like 'Painted Elysia' I not very useful because they mean different things in different parts of the world. I see that Cozumel Island is off the Yucatan Peninsula, so the animal you are interested in is a Caribbean species. One species from there that is sometimes called the 'Painted Elysia', because of its bright colours is Thuridilla picta. If you look at the Fact Sheet you will see some photos of it.

I am not sure what sort of information you are interested in. It belongs to a group of sea slugs, the sacoglossans, which are herbivorous, sucking the cell contents from the algae they feed on. Most species have a preference for one, or sometimes a few, particular species of algae. Some sacoglossans keep a special part of the algal cell - the chloroplasts - alive in their own bodies. The chloroplasts have a very special job in the algae - they convert the sun's energy into sugars for the plant's nutrition in a process we call photosynthesis. The sacoglossans are able to keep the chloroplasts functioning in their own bodies. Have a look at the solar-powered sea slug page for some more information on this topic. I am not sure if Elysia picta does this.

If you have photos of any sea slugs from your part of the world they would be of great interest.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Aug 12). Comment on Painted Elysia from Mexico by Maxi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Thuridilla picta

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