Melibe viridis laying eggs

June 5, 2008
From: Teresa Zuberbühler

Concerning message #21110:

Dear Bill

I send you some pictures of Melibe viridis laying eggs. I saw you already have a picture (message #13244 ) of the egg ribbon, on my photos you see the animal actually extruding it.

I have been diving in Lembeh over several years, but had never seen the eggs of Melibe. Then in 2006 we saw the egg-ribbons laying around at several dive sites and also chanced apon a Melibe laying the eggs.

Locality: Lembeh, 12-15m, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Pacific, 4. Juli 2006, black sand. Length: 8 cm?. Photographer: Teresa (Zubi) Zuberbühler.

A fascinating slug!! I love to see them feeding - the great maw with the teethlike rows of sensory papillae (would you like a close-up shot of those "teeth"?). What is also interesting are the small Periclimenes imperator shrimps, that often perch on them, sometimes 3 or more on one nudibranch.

Teresa Zubi

Zuberbühler, T., 2008 (Jun 5) Melibe viridis laying eggs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Teresa or Zubi,

This is a fascinating animal, and yes, I would like to add a photo showing the sensory papillae around the edge of the oral hood. We used to think of Periclimenes imperator as an associate of Hexabranchus sanguineus, but it has been found with many different - usually large - opisthobranchs, so the association is not as specific as first thought. Shrimps living on a shrimp-eater seems a rather foolhardy exercise, but I guess natural seletion will ensure the shrimps are good at escaping the oral hood.

In an earlier message [#9356] message I discuss how two species of Melibe seem to have a dextrally spiralling egg ribbon so I was curious to see which way the egg ribbon coiled in your photo. I am not 100% convinced I can work out the direction of coiling from the photos, but it seems to be dextral as well, which would suggest that the direction of coiling in this case may be at least a generic characteristic, which would be very interesting.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Jun 5). Comment on Melibe viridis laying eggs by Teresa Zuberbühler. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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