Doto formosa
Verrill, 1875

Family: Dotidae


Known only from Atlantic coast of Nth America


Eastport, Maine, USA. July 2003. Approx 12m deep. 12mm long. Photo: Alan Shepard

The only published information I can find is the short original description, based on specimens dredged from 'off Point Judith, Rhode Island, USA" which I have summarised below:
'Body translucent white; tentacle sheaths and dorsal papillae covered with flake-like specks. Length approx 0.5 inches. Dorsal papillae - about 8 down each side, covered with numerous short obtuse or rounded small white-tipped papillae."

As mentioned in Alan Shepard's message below, this animal has been identified by local biologists with Verrill's species. Certainly this animal fits Verrill's very meagre description [and black & white sketch], in colour and general shape.

• Verrill, A. E. (1875). Brief contributions to zoology from the Museum of Yale College. No. XXXIII.--Results of dredging expeditions off the New England coast in 1874. American Journal of Science & Arts, series 3, 10(55): 36-43. Plate 3, 4.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2003 (September 4) Doto formosa Verrill, 1875. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Doto formosa? from Eastport, Maine, USA

September 8, 2003
From: Alam Shepard

Bill -
Here is another shot of a Doto from Eastport, Maine. I had Dr. Larry Harris of the University of New Hampshire take a look at it and he said they've been calling this one Doto formosa. I find little information on D. formosa other than a reference to the species living in our area. Do you have any information on D. formosa and does the tentative identification from Dr. Harris seem correct?

This specimen was found at approximately 12m and was about 12mm long.

Alan Shepard
Tolland, CT, USA

Shepard, A., 2003 (Sep 8) Doto formosa? from Eastport, Maine, USA. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Alan,
The only reference I can find to Doto formosa is the original description, which is rather short on information. However, as I say in the Fact Sheet, nothing in your animal contradicts Verrill's description, and local biologists are using the name for that species so I see no reason not to continue to do so. I guess you get the message - any information you can get on the hydroids it feeds on, the shape of its egg ribbon, and any colour variation, will be valuable new information for 'science'.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Sep 8). Comment on Doto formosa? from Eastport, Maine, USA by Alam Shepard. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from