Melibe engeli - aquarium hitchhiker

May 2, 2008
From: Can Tunali

Concerning message #21447:

Dear Bill ,

These are from my refugium . I get my live rock from the local suppliers . They bring the live rocks from Maleysia , Indonesia or Singapore .

I noticed them first on 14 February 2008 as the shape in the lower photo.

The largest and the oldest one still alive and around 15 cm [upper photo]. They are laying eggs on the glass every 4 days. 


Can Tunali
Cairo, Egypt

Tunali , C.C., 2008 (May 2) Melibe engeli - aquarium hitchhiker. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Can,

The big animal laying eggs in you aquarium is a species of Melibe, almost certainly Melibe engeli. These amazing nudibranchs feed on small crustacea (shimps, prawns, crabs etc) by catching them in their large oral which acts like a fishing net. Have a look at the species' Fact Sheet and attached messages for more information. Also have a look at the other species of Melibe and Tethys on the Forum for more background information. You could possibly keep them alive by adding a few brine shrimp to the water but I am not sure if they would be able to capture swimimg prey.

The small white nudibranch [photo alongside] which you thought was a juvenile is a quite different nudibranch. It is an aeolid and probably doesn't grow much bigger. It will feed on some type of cnidarian, perhaps a hydroid or soft coral, but without a lot more information I can't say much more.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (May 2). Comment on Melibe engeli - aquarium hitchhiker by Can Tunali. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Melibe engeli

Related messages

  1. Melibe engeli and its oral hood
    From: Charles Raabe, October 27, 2008
  2. Giant-mouthed shrimp-eating sea slug
    From: Katie LeFevre, November 14, 2007
  3. More on Melibe engeli
    From: Jung Eun Yoon, July 5, 2007
  4. Melibe engeli from the Philippines
    From: Jung Eun Yoon, May 25, 2007
  5. Melibe with eggs from East Timor
    From: Brian Francisco, December 7, 2006
  6. Melibe sp? in my aquarium
    From: Michael Biester, February 15, 2006
  7. Re: Hitch-hiking Melibe engeli
    From: Todd Gardner, February 1, 2004
  8. Hitch-hiking Melibe engeli
    From: Joe Yaiullo, January 30, 2004
  9. Melibe engeli - dextral egg spiral
    From: Bill Rudman, March 6, 2003
  10. Melibe engeli in aquarium
    From: Andrew Trevor-Jones, January 28, 2002
  11. Melibe engeli from Japan
    From: Atsushi Ono, March 5, 2000
  12. Re: Melibe sp. from S.E. Sulawesi
    From: Terry Gosliner, March 3, 2000
  13. Melibe from SE Sulawesi
    From: Lindsay Warren, February 29, 2000

Show factsheet and all related messages