Elysia serca
Marcus, 1955

Order: SACOGLOSSA
Superfamily: ELYSIOIDEA
Family: Elysiidae

DISTRIBUTION

West Atlantic from Florida to Brazil

PHOTO

Great Exuma, Bahamas, Western Atlantic. Depth: 1m. February 03, 2004, on sea grass Halodule wrightii. Upper: 5mm, Lower: 4mm. Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia

This is a small elysiid, growing to about 8 mm in length. The head is proportionally large for an elysiid and the parapodia somewhat reduced. The species was originally described from Brazil and the colour ranges from brown to green with a charcteristic pattern of three whitish patches, one just in front of the heart, and one midway along the free edge of each of the parapodia. Later observations suggest it ranges from green to dark brown, if not black, and as well as the typical 3 white spots there can be other white spots on the parapodia and body. Jensen (1982) revised the species on the basis of material from Florida and considered that E. clena Marcus & Marcus, 1970, from Curacao, was a synonym. One characteristic of this species is the shape of the radular teeth in which the cusp is bent almost at right angles to the base. marcus described the teeth of E. serca as being roughly denticulate, while in E. clena the smaller teeth were denticulate and the larger ones were smooth. Jensen found that in Florida populations the presence of denticles was variable. Marcus (1955) found specimens on brown algae and Ulva and Hosoe (1956) reported it feeding on Ulva. However, Jensen (1982) and Clark (1975) report it feeds on sea grasses such as Halophila, Halodule wrightii and Thalassia.

Jensen suggests that Elysia catulus (Gould, 1870) which is found on the Atalntic coast of Nth America, north of Florida, and feeds on the sea grass Zostera, is possibly an older synonym.

References:
• Clark, K.B. (1975) Nudibranch life cycles in the northwest Atlantic and their relationship to the ecology of fouling communities. Helgolander wiss. Meeresuntersuchungen, 27:, 28-69.
• Hosoe, K. (1956): Notas biol┬ógicas sobre Elysia serca Marcus, 1955. Universidade de Sao Paulo Contribuicoes Avulsas do Instituto Oceanografico 2, 1-6.
• Jensen, K.R. (1982) Occurrence of Elysia serca Marcus in Florida, with notes on the synonymy and biology of the species. Journal of Conchology, 31: 87-94.
• Jensen, K.R. (1983) Further note on the ecology and systematics of Elysia serca Marcus (Opisthobranchia, Ascoglossa). Journal of Molluscan Studies, Suppl. 12A: 69-72.
• Marcus, Er. (1955) Opisthobranchia from Brazil. Boletim da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciencias e Letras. Universidade de Sao Paulo, Zoologia 20: 89-261. (Pls. 1-30)
• Marcus, Ev. (1972) Notes on some opisthobranch gastropods from the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Science, 13(4): 300-317.
• Marcus, Ev (1980): Review of western Atlantic Elysiidae (Opisthobranchia Ascoglossa) with a description of a new Elysia species. Bulletin of marine Science, 30(1): 54-79.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2004 (March 8) Elysia serca Marcus, 1955. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/elysserc

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