Liloa curta
(A. Adams, 1850) 

Family: Haminoeidae


Probably has wide western Pacific distribution.


Koumac, northern New Caledonia, October 1993.

There are many small bubble shells which have been named from dead shells alone. There is a massive task waiting for someone, or an army, to try and identify the names, which have been accumulating since Linnaeus, with specimens of living or preserved animals, so that positive identifications can be made and synonymies discovered.

See Clay Carlson's message below discussing the identity of this species.

• Adams, A. (1850) Monograph of the family Bullidae. In: Sowerby, G. Thesaurus Conchyliorum. Vol. 2., London, pp. 553-608, pls 119-125.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1998 (December 22) Liloa curta (A. Adams, 1850)  . [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Liloa curta from the Red Sea

October 14, 2005
From: Binyamin Koretz

Dear Bill,
We thought these haminoeids were an Atys sp until we came across the Liloa curta page on the Forum, and they seem pretty identical to your photo from New Caledonia and Clay Carlson's photo from Guam.

The attached photos are of 3 different animals from 3 different dive sites in Eilat. We've found them on all kinds of substrate from grassy areas to coral heads to sand and rubble.

Locality: Eilat, Israel. Red Sea (Gulf of Eilat). Depth: 4-22 m. Length: up to 1.5 cm. Apr to Jul 2005. all types of locality. Photographer: Binyamin and Shulamit Koretz

I'm sorry to say we haven't yet succeeded in making any interesting observations on the species such as food or reproduction. We'll keep trying.
Best regards

Koretz, B., 2005 (Oct 14) Liloa curta from the Red Sea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Binyamin,
From what we can see of the shell and general body morphology, H. curta would be a good bet. Most of those found on Guam have more magenta on the body but there are occasional much lighter ones. We do have 'whitish' forms from three areas in the Philippines.
Best wishes,
Clay Carlson & Patty Jo Hoff

Carlson, C. & Hoff, P-J., 2005 (Oct 14). Comment on Liloa curta from the Red Sea by Binyamin Koretz. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Your Atys sp is Liloa curta

December 22, 1998
From: Clay Carlson

I think your Atys sp. is the same as what we are presently calling Liloa curta (A. Adams, 1850).  I have attached a scan of a 16mm specimen from Pago Bay (3m), Guam; 14 Sept. 1971.  The male genital system is similar to that that Bob Burn drew for L. brevis.  The gizzard plates differ from most of the presently described haminoeid forms in that they have 45-50
low ridges with a single row of 'dominate' rods on each ridge--these flanked by smaller rods toward the center of the row.  The amount of dark pigment can vary from just a few small spots to an almost total cover.
The type for curta has gone bye-bye.  I have attached a scan of Pilsbry's type for Haminoea curta tomaculum on  which he based the subgenus Liloa. [Holotype: Shell length 12.5 x 5.5mm; ANSP #17073]. Pilsbry (1921) treated tomaculum as a separate species; Kay (1979) synonymized tomaculum and curta.  We have other bits and pieces in our collection from the Philippines and Indonesia that suggest the presence of other species that would fit the 'Liloa' classification.
Concerning Atys cylindrica. Helbling should be in (  ) and some will fuss about the ending on cylindrica]
We enjoyed your 'bubble' section.  It's good to see a living representatives of many things that up until now have been shell only.
Clay Carlson

Carlson, C. & Hoff, P.J., 1998 (Dec 22) Your Atys sp is Liloa curta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

A few days ago I posted the picture above and identified it as "Atys sp" and noted:
"This species must have a name, or three or four. It is quite common subtidally in New Caledonia and most probably is much more widely distributed."

Thanks Clay,
I didn't expect such a rapid response. I'm glad the Bubble Shells have struck a popular chord. They are the first opisthobranchs I took an interest in, and although not as spectacular as nudibranchs, we have much to learn about their biology and natural history.
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1998 (Dec 22). Comment on Your Atys sp is Liloa curta by Clay Carlson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from