Spurilla macleayi - pink eggs?

February 9, 2004
From: Rachel Przeslawski

Hi Bill,
I was wondering if you could identify this little guy. I found the egg mass first under an intertidal boulder at Bass Point, nea Wollongong, New South Wales in December. The adult was very near to the egg mass, but it wasn't until I looked at it under the microscope that I was quite confident he had laid the large bright pink eggs I had originally seen. They were easily observed within the slug although not quite so easily captured on the camera!

Thanks for your help!


Przeslawski, R., 2004 (Feb 9) Spurilla macleayi - pink eggs?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/12147

Hi Rachel,
This is Spurilla macleayi, and aeolid endemic to south eastern Australia. I tend to agree about the eggs but I have never seen it lay pink ones like this.

This is one of many species which I have not yet posted on the Forum so your question has forced me to fill the gap. I have posted some messages showing colour variation [see messages #12134, #12135, #12137] and observations on its eggs and development [see message #12136].

It is a direct developer and the egg ribbons I have seenare similar to yours but the eggs have been white. I guess they could range in colour from pink to white but I think you would need to see it lay one to be sure. Your animal certainly has dark red contents in the digestive gland suggesting it has been feeding on the deep red anemone Actinia tenebrosa. I have only found it feeding on the much lighter coloured Anthothoe albocincta, but if it does eat Actinia tenebrosa then it is possible that the pink pigmentation on the eggs is from the sea anemone. Obviously something that would need checking

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 9). Comment on Spurilla macleayi - pink eggs? by Rachel Przeslawski . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/12147


Spurilla macleayi

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