December 4, 2002
From: H. Thorman & A. McLaughlin
We have a weird little fellow that we are having trouble tracking. It is a 'slug' greenish-brown in colour, about 4cm long with appendages rather like a sea hare. We caught it attached to some kelp floating in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria [Australia] last Friday (30 November 2002).
Its most peculiar feature is a balloon like basket mouth projection that it opens and closes as if casting a net to catch plankton. Around the 'net' are tiny hair like projections.
Harry Thorman and Anne McLaughlin
Dear Harry and Anne,
Its a bit hard too identify marine animals without a photo but your description of 'a balloon like basket mouth projection that it opens and closes as if casting a net to catch plankton' is a pretty good description of the oral hood of a species of Melibe. I suspect your animal is Melibe maugeana a species which is only known from South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania in southern Australia. Have a look at some of the other species of Melibe on the Forum:
Let me know if I've solved your problem, and if you have any photos of it they would be a useful addition to our knowledge
More photos of Melibe maugeana
From: Bill Rudman, May 25, 2006
Melibe maugeana from South Australia
From: Sabine Dittmann, May 25, 2006
Photos of Melibe maugeana from Melbourne
From: Harry Thorman, December 18, 2002
Melibe maugeana from nthn Tasmania
From: Bill Rudman, December 4, 2002