Chelidonura livida - request for information

November 23, 2002
From: Nils Anthes

Dear "Red Sea enthusiasts",
During a Uni field course at Sharm el Sheikh in May 2003 I intend to do some observations on mating behaviour and mating conflicts in Chelidonura livida, which is mainly known from the Red Sea. I would appreciate if some divers who have seen the species around Sharm could come up with some more details on
- specific location
- date
- number of individuals
- witnessed matings? What could you see?
- substrate
- depth
- time of the day
- all other information that might be of interest.

The species is of particular interest to me, as the "gamete trading hypothesis", which aims to explain alternating reciprocal sperm exchange in hermaphrodites, has been developed (by Janet Leonard) using a related species, Navanax inermis, as a model system.

• Leonard, J.L. & Lukowiak, K .(1984) An ethogram of the sea slug, Navanax inermis (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia). Z. Tierpsychol, 65: 327-345.
• Leonard, J.L. & Lukowiak, K. (1985) Courtship, copulation, and sperm trading in the sea slug, Navanax inermis (Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea). Can. J. Zool., 63: 2719-2729.

Thanks for any responses!

Dear Nils,
I guess you've seen the other messages on the Forum, including Erwin Koehler's from Sharm el Sheikh. The aglajids you are likely to find are quite a bit smaller than Navanax but some of the little sand dwellers, such as Chelidonura sandrana can occur in very large numbers even on intertidal sand flats covered by only a few centimeters of water. It appears that C. livida is also a sand dwelling species. From my experience, its always a bit dangerous to base your research plan on one particular species. Opisthobranchs are not very reliable - even the most common species will not be there the week you need it. However if you base your plan on any species of aglajid you could be lucky. It may not be C. lividus by I assume any species will do the job.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Nov 23). Comment on Chelidonura livida - request for information by Nils Anthes. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Chelidonura livida

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