Aeolid from South Florida

October 5, 2001
From: Linda Ianniello

Hello everyone.
Anne DuPont suggested that I send you photos I have of a nudibranch a friend of ours found off the local south Florida coast. We are finding them in about 6 to 12 feet of water. They are very small; they don't even fill a Nikonos 2:1 framer. The white markings on the body are irregular and broken up, down the sides and center. There is a line of white spots down the side of the foot. These markings are opaque white,
on a translucent body. The Rhinophores are ringed, and solid white for the top half, translucent at the bottom. The gills are solid white, with pale orange bands about 1/3 from the top. And they are in clumps/rows down the body - not solid. In the water the tips of the rhinophores and gills appear iridescent blue, but that does not show up in the photos.

The bright green algae(?) in the lower photo appears to be what they eat. They are found on or around it. We would appreciate any help you can give us regarding their identification.

Thanks and regards,
Linda Ianniello
Boca Raton, FL

Ianniello, L, 2001 (Oct 5) Aeolid from South Florida . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Linda,
I suspect this is a species of Flabellina but I don't recognise it from any published description. Perhaps Sandra Millen will be able to help us out. The green object you suggest may be its food looks like the calcareous green alga Halimeda. If it is an alga then it won't be this animal's food. Its large oral tentacles and is pair of swollen, probably lamellate rhinophores, show that it an aeolid rather than a herbivorous sacoglossan. Its most likely source of food would be small hydroid colonies.

Sorry I can't identify this beast for you. If it has a name, hopefully someone will come to our aid.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Oct 5). Comment on Aeolid from South Florida by Linda Ianniello . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Flabellina engeli

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