Flabellina falklandica? from South Georgia

March 14, 2007
From: David Cothran

Hi Bill,

Here's another up to the minute report from the Antarctic. I dove today at Grass Island, in Stromness Harbor, where Shackleton finished his epic journey from Elephant Island. On the steep rock wall there I found several(>10) individuals of this species. It seems to be quite common at South Georgia; I have seen it at a number of localities here, but not anywhere in the South Shetlands or the Peninsula region. Most of the individuals I saw today were on Dideminidae ascidians like this one, but in the past I have
seen this species feeding on athecate hydroids.

What do you think of it? I have seen a BAS document with a superficially similar animal labeled as Eubranchus sp., but that seems pretty questionable to me. To my eye it strongly resembles a Notaeolidia sp., maybe N. gigas.

Locality: Grass Island, Stromness Harbor, South Georgia, Southern Ocean. 6 meters. Length 7 cm. 24 February 2007. Rock wall. Photo: David Cothran

Thanks as always for your assistance.
Best Regards,
David Cothran


Cothran, D.B., 2007 (Mar 14) Flabellina falklandica? from South Georgia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19538

Dear David,
This is another interesting find. I didn't post your message immediately because I have been trying to get advice from others with more experience in this fauna. The thing that struck me immediately were the small tentacular 'foot corners' at the front of the foot [also known as propodial tentacles]. Species of Notaeolidia have rounded foot corners so this is not a species of Notaeolidia. The only other largish aeolids known from these waters are species of Flabellina so I sent copies of your photos to Michael Schroedl who has been studying South American species of this genus with Sandra Millen [see separate message #19656 ].

Although Michael is a little more hesitant than me, I suspect your animal is Flabellina falklandica. It seems to agree with his photos in all the main details, including the white line around the edge of the posterior foot and up the midline as well. 

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Mar 14). Comment on Flabellina falklandica? from South Georgia by David Cothran. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19538

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