Swimming in opisthobranchs


Sagaminopteron ornatum - a composite photo showing swimming behaviour. Photo: Bill Rudman

Swimming behaviour has evolved a number of times in the opisthobranchs. In some it fulfils its normal role as a means of locomotion, but in many cases it appears to have evolved as an escape mechanism. If you go to the Forum's SEARCH PAGE and type swimming you will find many examples.

NOTE: If some one would like to prepare a review for the Forum on swimming it would be very welcome.

I have listed here a bibliography of relevant papers. They are either descriptions of swimming in a particular species, or general reviews. I have added a few recent review papers on behavioural & physiological aspects of swimming as a way into the growing literature in that area.

  • Anderson, R. (1988) Swimming nudibranchs. Shells & Sea Life, 20(1): 9-10.
  • Arakawa, K.Y. (1962) Miscellaneous Notes on Mollusca (3). Venus, The Japanese Journal of Malacology, 22(2): 173-175.
  •  Bebbington, A. & Hughes, G.M. (1973) Locomotion in Aplysia (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia). Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 40: 399-405.
  • Davenport, J. & Bebbington, A. (1990) Observations on the swimming and buoyancy of some thecosomatous pteropod gastropods. J. Moll. Stud. 56: 487-497.
  • Edmunds, M. 1968c. On the swimming and defensive response of Hexabranchus marginatus (Mollusca, Nudibranchia). Journal of the Linnean Society (Zoology), 47(313): 425-429.
  • Farmer, W. M. (1970) Swimming gastropods (Opisthobranchia and Prosobranchia). The Veliger 13(1): 73-89.
  • Haefelfinger, H-R. & Kress, A. (1967) Der Schwimmvorgang bei Gasteropteron rubrum (Rafinesque 1814) (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchiata). Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 74: 547-554.
  • Hamilton, P.V., & Russell, B.J. (1982) Celestial orientation by surface-swimming Aplysia brasiliana Rang (Mollusca: Gastropoda). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 56: 145-152
  • Hamilton, P. V. 1985. Migratory molluscs, with emphasis on swimming and orientation in the sea hare, Aplysia, pp. 212-226. In: M. A. Rankin, D. Checkley, J. Cullen, C. Kitting, & P. Thomas (Eds.), Migration: mechanisms and adaptive significance. Contributions in Marine Science (Marine Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Port Aransas, Texas) vol. 27, supplement.
  • Harbison, G.R. (1992) Observations on the swimming and buoyancy of Cymbulia peroni (Gastropoda: Thecosomata) made from a submersible. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, United Kingdom, 72: 435-446.
  • Johnson, S. 1984. A new Indo-West Pacific species of the dendronotacean nudibranch Bornella (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) with anguilliform swimming behavior. Micronesica, 19(1/2): 17-26.
  • Martin, R. (1966) On the swimming behaviour and biology of Notarchus punctatus Philippi (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). Pubblicazioni Stazione Zoologica di Napoli, 35: 61-75.
  • Morton, J.E. (1954) The biology of Limacina retroversa. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, United Kingdom, 33: 297-312.
  • Morton, J.E. (1958) Observations on the gymnosomatous pteropod Clione limacina (Phipps). Journal of the Marine Biological Association, United Kingdom, 37: 287-297.
  • Satterlie, R. A. 2001. Swimming in opisthobranch mollusks: Contributions to control of motor behavior: Introduction to the symposium. American Zoologist, 41(4): 939-942.
  • Thompson, S. H. (1999) Central pattern generator for swimming in Melibe. American Zoologist, 39(5): 109A.
  • Thompson, T.E., & Slinn, D.J. (1959) On the biology of the opisthobranch Pleurobranchus membranaceus. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, United Kingdom, 38: 507-524.
  • Thompson, T.E. (1972) Observations on Hexabranchus from the Australian Great Barrier Reef (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). The Veliger, 15(1): 1-5.
  • Watson, W. H., K. A. Lawrence, & J. M. Newcomb. 2001. Neuroethology of Melibe leonina swimming behavior. American Zoologist, 41(4): 1026-1035.
  • Willows, A. O. D. (2001) Costs and benefits of opisthobranch swimming and neurobehavioral mechanisms. American Zoologist, 41(4): 943-951.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2003 (December 10) Swimming in opisthobranchs. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/swimming

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