Berthelinia caribbea
Edmunds, 1963

Superfamily: OXYNOOIDEA
Family: Juliidae


St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. In Caulerpa. Photo: R. Gunderson.

Animal translucent greenish with white patches on the head and 'neck'. There can be some brown lines on the head and body. The shell valves are translucent clear and the greenish mantle, with its distinctive pattern of brownish lines and scattered white patches, can be seen through the shell. The extended animal can reach about 7mm, with a shell length of anout 4.5mm, but animals are usually smaller.

Studies by Grahame (1969) suggest B. caribbea feeds exclusively on Caulerpa verticillata, and like other sacoglossans feeds by piercing the cell wall and sucking out the cytoplasm. Grahame found that the animals live for about 100 days and spawn continuously after an age of about 37 days. Eggs are laid in masses of about 40 eggs. In the laboratory eggs hatched about 15 days after spawning. The larval stage is very abbreviated, freshly hatched veligers being able to settle immediately on the next adjacent frond of Caulerpa and begin feeding.

As I have discussed in an earlier message, the status of the genus names Tamanovalva and Berthelinia still needs to be resolved. I use Berthelinia for this species because that is the name that has usually been used for it.

• Edmunds,M (1963) Berthelinia caribbea n.sp., a bivalved gastropod from the Western Atlantic. Journal of the Linnean Society, (Zoology), 44: 731-739.
• Grahame, J. (1969) The Biology of Berthelinia caribbea Edmunds. Bulletin of marine Science, 19(4): 868-879
• Jensen, K.R. (1981) Observations on feeding methods in some Florida ascoglossans. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 47: 190-199.
• Meeder, J.F. & Moore, D.R. (1971) The extension of range of Berthelinia caribbea Edmunds to Brazil and Panama (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Caribbean Journal of Science, 11(3-4): 159-161.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2003 (October 4) Berthelinia caribbea Edmunds, 1963. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Berthelinia caribbea from Jamaica

October 10, 2003
From: Ross W. Gunderson

Dear Bill:
Here is another sea slug from Jamaica. As I said in my first message, all specimens were collected from St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. Photo: R. Gunderson.

Here is a Berthelinia (Tamanovalva) caribbea. Found on Caulerpa in mangroves.

Best wishes,

Gunderson,R.W., 2003 (Oct 10) Berthelinia caribbea from Jamaica. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Ross,
Berthelinia caribbea, or perhaps Tamanovalva caribbea, is a nice addition to the bivalved sacoglossans already on the Forum. I have discussed the status of the genus names Tamanovalva and Berthelinia in an earlier message.
Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Oct 10). Comment on Berthelinia caribbea from Jamaica by Ross W. Gunderson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from