Limacia clavigera in Portugal

October 14, 2005
From: Joao Pedro Silva

Dear Bill,
Last week me and a couple of friend photographers got together to look for nudibranchs and found several Limacia clavigera (alongside with other species, like Polycera quadrilineata) walking over what's left of the Saccorhiza "forests". The algae were covered with bryozoans and I guess the Limacia clavigera are probably feeding on them. However, you mention on the factsheet that they feed on Electra pilosa but these bryozoans seem to be (at least seem to me) Membranipora membranacea. Could it be they feed on several species?

Locality: Baleal, Portugal. Atlantic. Depth: 6 to 8 meters. Length: Between 0.5 and 1.5 cm. 5 October 2005. Rocky bottom. Photographer: Joao Pedro Silva

Joao Pedro Tojal Loia Soares Silva

Silva, J. P., 2005 (Oct 14) Limacia clavigera in Portugal. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Joao Pedro,
I am not an expert on bryozoans, but this could well be Electra pilosa. It usually has long hairs (hence its the name pilosa) along each side of the skeletal wall, but these are usually longest when it is growing on narrow diameter objects like branching red algae. On more flattened surfaces the hairs are not as well developed. If you look carefully at the photo alongside you can see a row of stumpy 'hairs' on some of the cell walls. Also this is one bryozoan species which tends to change its degree of 'hairiness' depending on the predation pressure it is under. Having said all that, Picton & Morrow (1994) say that although it prefers E. pilosa, it can be found feeding on other encrusting bryozoans.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Oct 14). Comment on Limacia clavigera in Portugal by Joao Pedro Silva. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Limacia clavigera

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