Aeolidiopsis harrietae from GBR

July 24, 2002
From: Bill Rudman

Hare are some photos of Aeolidiopsis harrietae from Heron Island, at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It was found, with A. ransoni in beds of Palythoa on the reef flat. two species of Palythoa were commonly present, one very green, and the other brownish yellow with brown speckling. Both species of Aeolidiopsis were only ever found with the brownish yellow species.

• 40mm long, Heron Is, Great barrier reef, on Palythoa sp. June, 1983 AM C138598. Photos: Bill Rudman

This species was usually found at the edge of a colony in the crevice created when to colonies abut. Three iportant features can be seen in the photos. Firstly the rounded anterior end of the foot, which in other aeolidiids have angular or tentacular corners. Secondly are the long papillae scattered all around the rhinophores. In A. ransoni the rhinophores are smooth. And finally you will see the brown branching ducts which run across the back, between the cerata, on the head and on the parts of the foot that are not shaded by the cerata. This animal is solar powered, the brown pigmentation is from the plant cells [zooxanthellae] it harbours in its body, in those parts of the skin which are not shaded from sunlight. In the lower right photo, the animal has lost some of its cerata [see autotomy page]. The pale parts of the body and the posterior foot are regions which are normally shaded and so don't have zooxanthellae.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 24) Aeolidiopsis harrietae from GBR. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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