Polybranchia orientalis from eastern Australia

July 5, 1999
From: Grey McNeil

Dear Bill,
Could you identify this photo please. The details are:
FLY PT., NELSON BAY, Port Stephens, NSW, eastern Australia, 5m, March 1998, 5cm long.


Grey McNeil.


Dear Grey,
This remarkable animal is the sacoglossan Polybranchia orientalis. Your photo shows it head on so you can see the bifid rhinophores which are characteristic of the Caliphyllidae. Some species, such as this one are well camouflaged, looking much like a clump of brown or green algae, depending on their colour, while others, like Cyerce nigricans have the flashy colours of an animal with nasty secretions in its skin.

All the caliphyllids are able to drop their large flattened cerata when attacked. See the page on autotomy where this defensive strategy is discussed.

Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Jul 5). Comment on Polybranchia orientalis from eastern Australia by Grey McNeil. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1003

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