Bulla vernicosa? from Philippines

December 5, 2005
From: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine

Dear Bill,

In their recent message on Philinopsis cyanea, Francis & Pirjo Pellet identified a small Bulla from the Philippines as Bulla ampulla [#15356]. I am not a Bulla specialist, but during Panglao 2004 expedition (http://www.panglao-hotspot.org) we found many Bulla like this one and Terry Gosliner identified all of them as Bulla vernicosa. I attach here 2 photos of this species for the Forum.

I couldn't tell you how to differentiate it from B. ampulla. Maybe Terry or Manuel Malaquias could tell us more...

Locality: 'Momo Beach', Panglao Island, Philippines, Pacific Ocean. Depth: 0-3 m. Length: 30 mm. 10 June 2004. shallow muddy/sandy bottoms. Photographer: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine

Best wishes,
Nembro website


Poddubetskaia Ossokine, M., 2005 (Dec 5) Bulla vernicosa? from Philippines. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15367

Dear Marina,
I began a reply to your question and then realised I had already discussed this question in a reply some time ago to a message from Atsushi Ono [#1511 ].

I've had another look at our quite large collection of Bulla shells from the Indo-West Pacific and it certainly looks as though colour pattern is variable within populations and inflated 'typical' B. ampulla shells are inevitably large and mixed with smaller shells which are narrower at the apical end. A supposed charcter of B. vernicosa is a narrowing of the aperture of the shell - which we can't see in photos of the live animals.

What is a major problem is that Bulla vernicosa was never figured in Gould's original description, and no specimen was found in Gould's collections meaning that it is impossible to know just what Gould meant by the name. In the Willan's 1989 review, which I mention in Ono's message,  Willans essentially agrees by starting his remarks with:
"A future monograph on the genus may consider Bulla vernicosa Gould, 1859 to be insufficiently described since the original diagnosis is inadequate and there is no designated type.."

In my opinion there are two separate questions to ask about Bulla. Firstly we need to know how many species there are and whether they vary in shell shape and colour as they grow. Secondly we then need to try and sort out which of the many names that have been given to shells over the last 150 years can be fitted to 'biologcal' species. In the meantime I think it is less confusing to call them all Bulla ampulla. Certainly in  large adults, the shell has an inflated, wide, opening but I have found no small shells with a similar shape so I can only assume that smaller animals have a narrower 'B. vernicosa ' shape.

Hopefully Manuel Malaquias's research will make it clearer.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Dec 5). Comment on Bulla vernicosa? from Philippines by Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15367


Bulla ampulla

Related messages

  1. Bulla ampulla laying eggs
    From: Binyamin Koretz, May 5, 2005
  2. Re: Research on Bulla
    From: Ana Karina Yepes Gomez, February 26, 2003
  3. Research on Bulla
    From: Manuel Malaquias, January 26, 2003
  4. Spawn of Bulla ampulla?
    From: Erwin Koehler, April 25, 2002
  5. Bulla ampulla from the Philippines
    From: Erwin Koehler, March 26, 2002
  6. Bulla sp. from the Line Islands
    From: Cory Pittman, November 8, 2001
  7. Bulla gizzard plates
    From: Paula M. Mikkelsen, July 11, 2001
  8. Juvenile Bulla from Sulawesi
    From: Lindsay Warren , June 7, 2001
  9. Live Bulla from Kerama Island, Japan
    From: Atsushi Ono, November 12, 1999

Show factsheet and all related messages