Phyllodesmium jakobsenae
Burghardt & Wagele, 2004

Family: Glaucidae


Known from Indonesia & Philippines.


Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. intertidal. Length: up to 30 mm. 12 July 2003. intertifal coral reef with patches of sea grass. Lower photo showing animal nestling in Xenia colony. Photographer: Michael Schrödl

Phyllodesmium jakobsenae is another species of Phyllodesmium which lives in, feeds on, and mimics the soft coral Xenia by the shape and colour of its cerata. It is solar-powered, retaining some of the soft corals zooxanthellae which continue to photosynthesise in the ceratal digestive gland cells. Probably the most characteristic external feature of this species is the shape of the cerata, which have a basal cylindrical, stalk-like, region which becomes broader and flatter toward the tip. In this upper region there is a central pale vein-like region flanked on each side by a broad brown flattened blade. On the upper, sunlit, side of the blade are spherical structures in which the zooxanthellae are 'farmed'. Of the Phyllodesmium  which farm photosynthesising zooxanthellae, this is the only one we know that has no branching of the digestive gland in the body wall. It is reported to grow to 30 mm in length.

See illustrations of jaw and radula [#14684] and ceratal structure [#14681 ]

  • Burghardt, I. and Wägele, H. (2004) A new solar powered species of the genus Phyllodesmium Ehrenberg, 1831 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Aeolidoidea) from Indonesia with analysis of its photosynthetic activity and notes on biology. Zootaxa, 596: 1-18.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (September 1) Phyllodesmium jakobsenae Burghardt & Wagele, 2004 . [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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