Pleurobranchus testudinarius? from Florida

June 3, 2000
From: Kenneth Nelson

There are two specimens of this particular sea slug at Ft. Pickens, Pensacola, Florida. I would like any information or where a good source of information about them. I have been diving this area for over twenty years and this is the first of their kind to be seen. This is both a commerical and military port and perhaps they hitched a ride on a ship. Please send me your views on this matter or is this just a natural event. Thank you

Kenneth Nelson
Mobile, Alabama

Nelson, K., 2000 (Jun 3) Pleurobranchus testudinarius? from Florida. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Kenneth,
It would be very useful to have a photo of this animal to confirm your identification as Pleurobranchus testudinarius. This species is quite common in the Mediterranean, but to my knowledge the only record of it in the Western Atlantic is of one preserved animal from Maranhao in northern Brazil (Marcus, 1970).

If we can confirm your identification, then it is possibly a natural distribution as there are quite a number of opisthobranchs which are found on both sides of the Atlantic, though it is strange that such a big animal has not been reported before. With luck someone with knowledge of the Florida fauna will be able to give us further information.

Reference: Marcus, Ev. (1970) Opisthobranchs of Northern Brazil. Bulletin of Marine Science, 20(4): 922-951

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jun 3). Comment on Pleurobranchus testudinarius? from Florida by Kenneth Nelson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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