Bought at local fish store

April 28, 2006
From: Greg Branson

A local fish store sold us what they called a strawberry slug. We were hoping you could help us in determining the correct name and possibly what their diet consists of. The local fish store said they eat algae and sponges and if this is correct can they live on algae alone. We are willing to go out of our way to get the type of food if at all possible. Any information would be great.

Photographer: Jennifer Branson

Thank You
Greg Branson

Branson, G.P., 2006 (Apr 28) Bought at local fish store. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Greg,
How can these shops get away with selling you things by giving you such spurious information! If this was a pet shop and they sold you a kitten and said that they were easy to keep - 'just feed them leaves and grass' it wouldn't be long before some animal rights group took them to court on the grounds of animal cruelty - if not customer deception.

Your animal is Gymnodoris aurita, and species of Gymnodoris don't eat algae and they don't eat sponges. They eat other sea slugs. We don't know what species G. aurita feeds on, but if you go to the Gymnodoris ceylonica Fact Sheet you will see reports of it feeding on the sea hare Stylocheilus striatus. That is not to say G. aurita will also eat sea hares but it will certainly eat some reasonably large sea slugs - but I can't say what species. When collecting species of Gymnodoris in the field it is necessary to keep them separated as they will often eat each other.

I am afraid I can't offer much assistance with your slug, but I would let your fish shop know that you are not happy with the standard of advice they are handing out.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Apr 28). Comment on Bought at local fish store by Greg Branson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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