Melbe pilosa - Pease's description

October 17, 2003
From: Bill Rudman

To accompany Keoki's photo of Melibe pilosa, here is Pease's original description. There were no accompanying illustrations.

Elongate, smooth, widest anteriorly, and tapering to a point behind. Sides convexly rounded, and the back arched. Foot linear, grooved, extending the whole length of the body, and acute at both ends. Six pairs of thick tuberculated lobes along the back, the anterior pair opposite, the others alternate to one another, the last at the tip of the body. These lobes are easily deciduous, contracted at their bases, truncated above, convex outside, and flattened on the inner surface. Frontal veil very large, semiglobular, much inflated above; united beneath the head, forming a continuous margin, which is closely fringed. Mouth proboscidiform, and the orifice vertical. Tentacles on the posterior portion of the veil rather remote, small, ovate, closely and transversely lamellated and retractile into long trumpet-shaped sheaths, which are furnished with laciniated appendages. Everywhere with small, soft, branched, tentacular processes. Colour fawn, subtranslucent, more or less clouded with whitish, which under the lens has the appearance of minute dots. Body punctured with brown which are most conspicuous along the flanks. Tubercles on the lobes brown. Foot pale.

These animals were found amongst sea-weed in the upper region of the laminarian zone, and when placed in a basin of water were very active, swimming by suddenly curving the head and tail laterally, so as to nearly touch one another. When slightly disturbed they would cast off one or all of their lobes. The length of their lobes varies much, being in some as large again as in others; they may be consequently reproduced after being cast off. Their foot cannot be used for creeping on a flat surface, but is well adapted for clasping sea-weed. [from Pease, 1860]

• Pease, W.H. (1860) Descriptions of new species of mollusca from the Sandwich Islands. Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 28: 18-36 (part 1), 141-148 (part 2)

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Oct 17) Melbe pilosa - Pease's description. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Melibe pilosa

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