June 16, 2000
From: Christian Desprez
It's a long time since I gave you some news from Mediterranean Sea.
We where last week with my club at Boulouris (Var), 5 km from St Raphaël and 20 km from St Tropez. We dived at the place named " The pyramid" just in front of the tower of Dramont. And I was very excited, because I had observed two new sea slug on a sponge that I had never see before in this area or anywhere in the south of France.
Depth : 30 meters. Their size 3 x 4 cm, colour orange-yellow with on all the body some white points of an half millimeter. No eyes apparently and no external gills. Do you known this species or maybe one of your friends has some information.
Thank's in advance for your help.
Christian.DESPREZ@wanadoo.frDesprez, C., 2000 (Jun 16) Unknown nudibranch from south of France. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2580
I am not an expert on the Mediterranean fauna, but if your slug had no obvious gills then it was probably Phyllidia flava. Have a look at the top of this page, above your message, for a photo and description of P. flava.
There have been a number of studies of this species in scientific journals under the name Phyllidia pulitzeri Pruvot-Fol, 1962, which is now considered an unnecessary later name for P. flava. There is a good illustrated account of this species in the Italian magazine for shell-collectors La Conchiglia with colour photos of it on one of its food sponges and laying eggs.
Reference: Maeri, G. (1986) Notes and remarks on Pruvot-Fol, 1962. La Conchiglia, Number 208-209: 1-5.
When disturbed this species, like most phyllidiids, exudes a milky secretion from skin glands, which is distasteful to fish. I don't know if you handled the animals you saw, but one author reports that "this animal smells disgusting" which is a reference to the smell of the defensive chemical secretion. It is reported to feed on sponges of the genus Axinella.
If you have photos it would be fairly simple for me to confirm that it is Phyllidia flava.
Gills of Phyllidia flava
From: Marcel Tanke, October 16, 2009
Re: Phyllidia flava in defensive mode
From: Dominique Horst, May 8, 2009
Phyllidia flava feeding
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Re: Armina maculata or Phyllidia flava
From: Dominique Horst, June 1, 2006
Armina maculata or Phyllidia flava
From: Dominique Horst, May 31, 2006
Phyllidia flava from Greece
From: Vasilis Athanasopoulos, November 22, 2005
Phyllidia flava from Turkey
From: Ferda Buyukbaykal, January 24, 2003
Re: Phyllidia flava diet inTurkey
From: Jean Vacelet, December 7, 2001
Food of Phyllidia flava?
From: Baki Yokes, November 3, 2001
Phyllidia flava feeding
From: Erwin Koehler, June 20, 2000