Re: Stiliger? from S.E. Australia

February 4, 2002
From: Kathe R. Jensen

Dear John and Bill,
This species is indeed very similar to Ercolania boodleae (or to my E. emarginata from Hong Kong, which may be synonymous with E. boodleae). The fact that it feeds on Cladophora shows that it is not Stiliger aureomarginatus, which feed on Codium. Anatomically Ercolania can easily be distinguished from Stiliger in that Ercolania has "sabot-shaped" teeth, Stiliger blade-shaped, and Ercolania has a short curved penial stylet, Stiliger has an unarmed penis.

This find makes it more likely that E. emarginata is synonymous with E. boodleae, which then has a wide West-Pacific distribution. However, I have collected a few specimens of a "sibling" species in Hong Kong, which is almost indistinguishable from E. emarginata (the orange tips of the cerata are missing - but they may also be absent in E. emarginata, depending on its food). This is why I am hesitant to publish the synonymy at the present time.


Jensen, K.R., 2002 (Feb 4) Re: Stiliger? from S.E. Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Kathe,
The most noticeable external difference I could see was the white rhinophores and foot. Does the known colour variation of E. boodleae encompass forms with this colour pattern?
Bill Rudman

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