Reddish Thecacera picta

January 24, 2006
From: Rokus Groeneveld

Daer Bill,
Today I was checking out some information about Thecacera picta. I noticed they are all more or less white. And because you write in one of your comments not very much is known about the colour variations I send you this picture.
The slug in this case is kind of red. It's not the reflection from the sponge it's on. But is it because it eats it, or an adaptation as camouflage?

Locality: Cabilao Island, Philippines, Visayan Sea. Depth: about 20 meters. Length: about 1 cm. 25 December 2005. wall. Photographer: Rokus Groeneveld

Best regards
Rokus Groeneveld,
Netherlands

rosa12@wxs.nl

Rokus G., 2006 (Jan 24) Reddish Thecacera picta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15590

Dear Rokus,
I am pretty sure the red colour is caused by the sponge it is sitting on. These animals are very watery with not much in the way of a thick muscular body wall, so when they don't have any pigment in their skin, we can see through them, very much like we can see shapes and colours through frosted glass. We can see a yellow-brown lump in the middle of the body, which is the digestive gland, and somw whitish bits in front, whcih are parts of the reproductive system and gut. The fact that we can see things inside the body like this shows just how transparent this species is. Since we can't see through it very clearly we say that it is 'translucent clear' rather than transparent. I guess being almost transparent like this is a good simple way to camouflage yourself. Of course not all nudibranchs are translucent or transparent, many such as the chromodorids are hightl coloured.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Jan 24). Comment on Reddish Thecacera picta by Rokus Groeneveld. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15590

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