Tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Koumac, northern New Caledonia, in grass beds, 80mm long alive. October 1993. UPPER photo showing "net-like" oral veil stretched out feeling for crustacean prey. LOWER photo showing ventral side of oral veil showing rows of sensory papillae around inner edge of veil which can rapidly close when prey is detected.
PHOTOS: Bill Rudman.
There are a number of benthic species of Melibe in the tropical Indo-West Pacific. Melibe viridis can grow to over 120mm in length. Their most unique attribute is their method of feeding. They have lost their radular teeth and have developed the oral veil into a large veil or "fish net" which they use to constantly scan the substrate as they crawl along. When the sensitive papillae on the inner edge of the oral veil touch a small crab or crustacean the edge of the veil is rapidly contracted, trapping the prey, which is then ingested. Some species of Melibe, but not this species, harbour zooxanthellae in their bodies.
The genus Melibe was reviewed by Gosliner, (1987) but the identity of at least two of the larger species, Melibe pilosa Pease, 1860 (from Hawaii) and Melibe fimbriata Alder & Hancock, 1864, (from India) is not resolved. A third species, Meliboea viridis Kelaart, 1858, originally described from Ceylon, has been ignored by all subsequent authors, except Alder & Hancock (1864), who considered it to be most probably, a juvenile of their M. fimbriata.
I use Kelaart's name as I can find no consistent differences to justify the separation of these two species. That is not to say that there are not other species of Melibe in the Indo-West Pacific.
Note added 14 January 2004: This species, or one of this species complex, has migrated through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean where it is usually identified as Melibe fimbriata. Until the taxonomic problems mentioned above are resolved, records from the Mediterranean have been moved to a separate Melibe fimbriata Page.
• Gosliner, T.M. (1987) Review of the nudibranch genus Melibe with description of two new species. The Veliger, 29: 400-414.
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (January 7) Melibe viridis Kelaart, 1858. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/meliviri
Melibe viridis from South Africa
From: Valda Fraser, November 20, 2009
Re: Melibe viridis in East Timor
From: Brian Francisco, November 20, 2009
Melibe viridis from Singapore
From: Toh Chay Hoon, October 31, 2008
Is this a Melibe?
From: Ron Yeo, October 27, 2008
Melibe viridis from Lembeh Straits
From: Mark Atwell, October 24, 2008
Melibe sp. from Thailand
From: Lawrence Neal, October 24, 2008
Re: Melibe viridis laying eggs
From: Teresa Zuberbühler, June 11, 2008
Re: Melibe viridis - edge of the oral hood
From: Teresa Zuberbühler, June 6, 2008
Melibe viridis laying eggs
From: Teresa Zuberbühler, June 5, 2008
Sea slug with paddles?
From: Annabelle Sandes, November 30, 2007
Melibe mirifica from Sulawesi
From: Ken Tucker, June 18, 2007
Melibe viridis from Davao Gulf
From: Carlos R. Munda, May 25, 2007
Sweet-smelling Melibe from South Korea
From: Grace N. Palmos, November 7, 2006
Melibe viridis in East Timor
From: Brian Francisco, November 2, 2006
Melibe viridis from Buton Island, Banda Sea
From: Linda Ianniello, December 3, 2005
Melibe from the Gulf of Kutch, India
From: Arpit Deomurari, July 1, 2005
Melibe from the Mediterranean
From: Katerina Tzouvali & Dimitris Pettas, March 3, 2005
Melibe mirifica from Indoneisa
From: Patricia Danna, March 19, 2004
Melibe viridis ? from the Philippines
From: Erwin Koehler, December 18, 2003
Melibe? from Japan
From: John Perry, July 29, 2001
Melibe mirifica from Papua New Guinea
From: Mary Jane Adams, September 21, 2000
A Melibe? from Papua New Guinea
From: Alan M. Grant, January 7, 1999