Elysia bennettae
Thompson, 1973

Superfamily: ELYSIOIDEA
Family: Elysiidae


Southwestern Pacific - but see comment below and message from Lombok, Indonesia.


One of a number of animals found on the reef flat at Heron Is, Queensland, 9 June 1983. AM C138554. 37mm long alive. Note red tinge on parapodia, caused by small red specks scattered all over the external surfaces of the body, and red line along parapodial edge. Photos: Bill Rudman

The algal chloroplasts within the ducts of the digestive gland give the whole animal a green colouration. Microscopic red specks cover the skin and there is a red line along the edge of the parapodia. The skin also has scattered white mottling. Described from Heron Id, on the tropical east coast of Australia, it has also been reported from Guam (Carlson & Hoff, 1978) but Marshall & Willan (1999) suggest the Guam specimens are Elysia kushimotoensis, a species which is probably a synonym of Elysia rufescens. The geographical distribution of this species, and it colour variability, will depend on just how variable we consider this species to be. Animals with the 'typical' colour form are known from tropical eastrn Australia and nearby waters. Can grow to approx 60mm but seldom more than 40mm long. Reported by Marshall & Willan (1999) to emerge at night to feed on the filamentous green alga Chlorodesmis fastigiata.

There are a number of quite similar red-specked species reported from different parts of the Indo-West Pacific. See photos below of red speckled specimens, which may or may not be this species, from Indonesia, east Africa, and northern New South Wales.

• Carlson, C.H. & Hoff, P.J. (1978) The identifiable Elysia from Guam (Elysiidae, Sacoglossa, Opisthobranchia). Micronesica, 14: 89-113.
• Marshall, J.G. & Willan, R.C., 1999. Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef.
• Thompson, T.E. (1973) Sacoglossan gastropod molluscs from eastern Australia. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 40: 239-251.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2002 (November 18) Elysia bennettae Thompson, 1973. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/elysbenn

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