Bulla gouldiana
Pilsbry, 1893

Family: Bullidae


West coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California and Equador.


Vallecitios Wall, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla, 10m, CA, USA, East Pacific, 20 February 2006.  Photographer: Barbara Jeanne Lloyd.

This large cephalaspidean species, like all of the genus, has a heavily calcified external shell. This 'bubble' or 'bubble shell',  as they are often called, is similar to members of the genus Haminoea, but in that species the animals are usually smaller, and the shell much more transparent and fragile. Found from Morro Bay, in central California south to Ecuador, this species reaches over 55 mm in length.  It was named after the biologist Augustus Addison Gould.

Bulla gouldiana lives in protected waters on a mud or sandy bottom. Species of Bulla are herbivores, feeding on green algae. Bulla gouldiana is most active at night, spending the day buried in the sand or mud.  The exposed shell has a distinctive pattern, and the semi-transparent mantle is brown with varying degrees of mottled bluish pigmentation. At the southern most extent of its geographic range it overlaps with a tropical but similar species, Bulla punctuolata A. Adams in Sowerby, 1850.

  • Behrens, D.W. & A. Hermosillo.  2005.  Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs - A guide to the opisthobranchs from Alaska to Central America.  Sea Challengers.   137 pp.
  • Camacho-Garcia, Gosliner and Valdes. 2005. Field Guide to the Sea Slugs of the Tropical Eastern Pacific.  California Academy of Sciences.  129 pp.
  • Farfan, B. C. and Ramirez, L. F. B. (1988) Spawning and ontogeny of Bulla gouldiana (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea) . The Veliger 31: 114-119. 
Authorship details
Behrens, D.W, 2006 (March 2) Bulla gouldiana Pilsbry, 1893. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/bullgoul

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