Philine spp.
In California (PAGE 2)

Family: Philinidae



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Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1998 (August 11) Philine spp. In California (PAGE 2). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Re: Philine in California

March 15, 1999
From: Allison Carver

Unfortunately, things have been going very slowly for me here. My main problem is collecting, because I can hitch rides on our research boats only when they go out, and when my school and work schedules allow it -- and I've been swamped in school lately. I have noticed that Philine seems to finally have moved inside the harbors: whereas, up to this winter, I found Philine only outside the harbor breakwaters, recently I have been finding one or two adults and many, many juveniles inside the harbor. I have asked Michelle Chow for advice on preservation for SEM (for identification purposes), but what I'd really like is any information anyone might have on the ecology of the four species of Philine that Michelle and Terry Gosliner have identified, because my ultimate goal is to assess any impacts on the native mollusc populations.
Any ideas?

Allison Carver

Carver, A., 1999 (Mar 15) Re: Philine in California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Allison,
Thanks for keeping in touch. The only reference I know of is the one I listed in an earlier message about Philine orientalis in Hong Kong.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Mar 15). Comment on Re: Philine in California by Allison Carver. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Re: Introduced Philine in California

March 8, 1999
From: Michelle Chow

Sorry for my late reply.  Unfortunately Terry is on vacation for this month and would have been able to provide you with the pictures he has taken so far; however let me try to fill you in.

Terry now believes that we have four different introduced species of Philine: Philine aperta from South Africa, P. japonica from Japan, P. orientalis from Hong Kong or Malaysia, and P. auriformis from New Zealand.  From my understanding, he is basing this information on gizzard plates, penial morphology, and shell sculpturing (among other things).  Philine auriformis has three equal sized gizzard plates with two longitudinal grooves on each plate, whereas the other three species of Philine have two larger and equally sized gizzard plates with two small holes in the center of each plate, and one smaller plate. Philine auriformis, P. aperta, and P. orientalis have a smooth surface on the outside of their shells, whereas the outer surface of P. japonica's shell is punctate.  As far as the penial morphology goes, it would probably be best to get the details from Terry.  All I know for sure is that all four morphologies are different. 

As for myself, I have been keeping busy investigating the distribution and abundance of Philine in San Francisco and Bodega Bay. P. auriformis and P. orientalis were very abundant in Bodega Bay in late spring/summer and have been slowly dying out over the fall and winter. However just last weekend I found the first young of the year Philine orientalis weighing in at 0.3 gr.  It will be interesting to watch what happens in the next couple of months.  

I also have been investigating the impact of Philine auriformis and Philine orientalis on the density of small bivalves on the Bodega Bay mudflats.  I am currently collecting data on enclosure experiments that I performed last summer.

So that is the story so far although I am sure that Terry would have more to tell you.  Terry has really been looking at the morphological differences between the Philine species whereas I have focused on the ecological impacts these introduced species might have on our mudflat fauna.  However because there is still some lingering confusion on which species we may have in California, I am planning to use genetic techniques to complement the morphological comparisons.  I would like to compare what we have in California to known specimens of P. auriformis, P. orientalis, P. aperta, and P. japonica from their native regions.  Therefore I would like to ask you if this information could be posted on your web page.

Currently I have no/few contacts to researchers in Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  I am hoping that perhaps interested researchers in these areas might be able to send known examples of these species of Philine.  Anyone interested should feel free to contact me through email at

If you have any other questions, please let me know.  I was happy to get an email from you and will continue to send along information as it comes along.  I hope in a few weeks to give you an update on the enclosure experiments after I have had time to look at the data.

Michelle Chow

Chow, M., 1999 (Mar 8) Re: Introduced Philine in California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Michelle,
Thanks very much for your update. Last I heard you had two, or perhaps three introduced species. To have four is amazing!

I certainly would be surprised if your Philine auriformis is the New Zealand species. The difference in size of the radular teeth of New Zealand and Californian animals I posted in an earlier message seems to be a good character in other species I have looked at, and the shape of their gizzard plates is certainly not unique to that species.

By genetic studies do you mean DNA or electrophoretic studies? If so perhaps you could let us know what condition you would need specimens to be in. Fresh?, frozen?, alcohol preserved?

Your Philine are certainly turning out to be a fascinating field of study and I look forward to the next instalment(s).
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Mar 8). Comment on Re: Introduced Philine in California by Michelle Chow. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Re: any updates on Californian Philine

March 2, 1999
From: Mike Behrens


There is not much new to report. At this point it still looks like we are only dealing with one species ("Philine auriformis"). However, one of my colleagues met some graduate students from UCLA in the mudflats of Morro Bay last month who collected some specimens that looked more like P. orientalis based on gross morphology. The specimens were unfortunately not preserved and later thrown out before anyone could positively identify them.

The Philine in Morro Bay have a cyclical pattern of abundance throughout the year with a peak in spring/summer. So we have not seen any significant numbers since late summer, but we expect the numbers to increase over the next few months. All of our work thus far has been in the intertidal, but we are trying to get out on some of the otter trawls with Fish and Game, because they have been trawling up a mysterious white slug for the last couple of months.

I will let you know if anything new comes up.

Mike Behrens

Michael D. Behrens
TENERA Environmental Services
P.O. Box 400
Avila Beach CA 93424

Behrens, M., 1999 (Mar 2) Re: any updates on Californian Philine. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mike,
Thanks for the quick update.
Bill Rudman.

Anything new on Californian Philine spp?

March 1, 1999
From: Danielle Catlin

Hello Dr.Rudman,
I am a student at the University of California at Davis. I am writing a paper for my English class about the introduced Philine sp. found in Bodega Bay. I learned about this opisthobranch while studying at the Bodega Marine Lab this summer and I was able to perform research concerned with whether Philine had histochemical defenses. I am writing to you because I need help finding out more information about the "Philine story" in Bodega Bay. I was hoping you could provide me with some current information or at least what we know about the situation so far.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. You can either email me at this address or via the Sea Slug Forum.
Danielle Catlin

Catlin, D., 1999 (Mar 1) Anything new on Californian Philine spp?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Danielle,
I was beginning to wonder myself what was happening with your introduced Philine. As far as I know, the current situation is what you can find here in the Forum. If any of the Philine workers on the US west coast would like to let us know what's going on we would be very interested.

I guess your best bet Danielle would be to contact some of then researchers who you will find on the Californian Philine page. Don't forget to look at Page 2 as well.

The main ones are:
Michelle Chow
Allison Carver
Mike Behrens
Terry Gosliner
Jeff Goddard.

If you get any information please let us know. By the way I would be interested in hearing about your rersearch into chemical defence in Philine.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Mar 1). Comment on Anything new on Californian Philine spp? by Danielle Catlin. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Philine in California

December 12, 1998
From: Allison Carver

Dear Bill--
Since my first query I have unfortunately been inundated by common, garden-variety school stuff, and have not been able to take the time to contact the other Philine people.  Now that my finals are over, however, I plan to spend my Christmas break collecting & dissecting in an attempt to determine which (if any) of the two or possibly three species we have down here.  When I have something solid, I will certainly let you know. 
Thanks for all the help -- and thanks especially for maintaining the Forum.
Allison Carver.

Carver, A., 1998 (Dec 12) Philine in California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Its a pity about "common, garden-variety school stuff" isn't it? Look forward to hearing of your results when you get time for some "real" work.

Philine in LA / Long Beach Harbors

November 20, 1998
From: Allison Carver


I have reviewed the information on the presence of Philine in California, and am delighted that there are others interested in these little guys.

Philine first appeared in the LA/Long Beach, California area in the fall of '95, mostly in bio dredges (a.k.a. "rock drags") in sandy bottom areas. I am interested in studying their impact on this area, and would like any information anyone can give me on the best sampling procedures for Philine, for either intertidal or subtidal areas.

Thanks to all in advance.

Allison Carver
Southern California Marine Institute
820 S. Seaside Ave.
Terminal Island, CA 90731

Carver, A., 1998 (Nov 20) Philine in LA / Long Beach Harbors. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Allison,
I guess your best bet is to contact some of the others on the West Coast who have been discussing their work on the Forum (Michelle Chow, Terry Gosliner, Mike Behrens, Jeff Goddard). Please let us know how you get on .. Bill Rudman

A third Philine in California

September 8, 1998
From: Terry Gosliner

Dear Bill,
Thanks for your messages and all the information regarding Philine.
Things have taken an interesting twist here. Michelle, Rebecca Price (a former intern who has been working with me on Philine) and I had a go at the Bodega material.
You were basically correct in drawing the prostate as a tight tube for the Bodega "auriformis", but the ejaculatory duct is longer in all our material than you drew it for California specimens. I looked at some larger specimens from Los Angeles and Morro Bay and the prostate is much more well developed as in your New Zeland specimen. All the California material has a very distinct penial papilla with the sac. It is conical with a distinct apical shield that is shiny compared the rest of the muscular papilla.

The situation with the P. orientalis material is interesting as well. I compared the Bodega specimens with specimens of orientalis I have from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Bodega material closely matches the Taiwan and Malaysian material, but has a consistently different penial papilla to the Hong Kong specimens. It appears that there are two SE Asian species, but which is orientalis is open to question. P. orientalis was originally described from the Philippines from shells only. We have no Philine with that kind of plates from the Philippines.

I thought I would examine some additional smaller specimens from Tomales Bay, just South of Bodega. These were basically like P. orientalis only smaller. Upon looking at them carefully, they are identical in shell sculpture, gizzard and penial morphology to P. japonica. It appears that we have at least a third introduced species in California waters. Some other material from San Francisco Bay looks much more like P. aperta from South Africa, but we need to look at it more closely. Things get curiouser and curiouser. all the best,


Terry Gosliner

Gosliner, T., 1998 (Sep 8) A third Philine in California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Terry, its a pity species of Philine don't have some nice identifying colour patterns .. Bill.

Philine in Oregon

September 7, 1998
From: Jeff Goddard

Dear Dr. Rudman,
Specimens matching Philine auriformis as described by Gosliner (1995) are currently in Coos Bay Oregon. The first specimens were collected on 8 August 1998 on intertidal sand flats just inside the mouth of the bay. Their gizzard plates, radulae, and shells all match those described by Gosliner.
The slugs were burrowing just below the sand surface in area with Dendraster and a variety of small clams, including Transennella. Two days ago (the 23rd) I collected about 25 specimens, ranging in length from 20 to 30 mm from this same area. It seems likely that these animals were carried north, as larvae, with last year's anomalously warm water.
I will be sending specimens to Terry Gosliner, and will be happy to send you some as well.

Jeff Goddard
26 August 1988

Goddard, J., 1998 (Sep 7) Philine in Oregon. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Jeff,
Thanks for the information. If you are sending specimens to Terry there is no need to send me any. If you would like me to include some information on you in our participants pages please let me know. Most people who have have been pleased with the number of new contacts they make with people with similar interests ...Bill Rudman