Re: Hermaeopsis

February 16, 2001
From: Kathe R. Jensen

Dear Bill and Jean-Pierre,

With our present knowledge about the anatomy of Hermaea and Hermaeopsis, the latter genus seems to be superfluous, and H. variopicta can be included in the genus Hermaea. Whether future phylogenetic analysis of more species will show something different we will have to wait and see.

The genus Hermaea is in the family Hermaeidae, whereas the genus Placida - to which many species originally described as Hermaea, have been transferred - belongs to the family Limapontiidae (previously called Stiligeridae). This may sound confusing, but is actually based on some fundamental differences in the reproductive system, which is diaulic in the Hermaeidae and triaulic or pseudodiaulic (in species with hypodermic impregnation into seminal receptacle) in the Limapontiidae. There are other anatomical differences as well. The Hermaeidae consists of the genera Hermaea (incl. Hermaeopsis) and Aplysiopsis, so it is a rather small family. However, I think most of the confusion arises because so many species described as Hermaea actually belong in the genus Placida.

• Gascoigne, T. 1976. The reproductive systems and classification of the Stiligeridae (Opisthobranchia: Sacoglossa). Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia, 3: 157-172.
• Gascoigne, T. 1979. Observations on the anatomy of Hermaea variopicta Opisthobranchia: Ascoglossa). Journal of Zoology, 187: 223-233.
• Jensen, K.R. 1996. Phylogenetic systematics and classification of the Sacoglossa (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B., 351: 91-122.


Jensen, K.R., 2001 (Feb 16) Re: Hermaeopsis. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Kathe,
My biggest problem was I thought the Limapontiidae and Hermaeidae had been merged. Hopefully I have sorted out the ones on the Forum now.
Bill Rudman


Hermaea variopicta

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