Hermaea variopicta
(Costa, 1869)

Family: Hermaeidae


Mediterranean, Morocco, Atlantic coast of  France and southwestern England.


Upper: Port de la Selva, Spain, Mediterranean Sea, Depth 12 m, Size 7 mm. September 2000. Photo: Jean Pierre Bielecki. Lower: Etang de Thau - France, Mediterranean. Depth: 8 m. Length: 30 mm. 5 March 2005. Mud covered with Enteromorpha and other algae. Photographer: Sylvie Grall.


Brightly coloured sacoglossan growing to approx 40 mm in length. It has a light purple body with streaks of dark purple. The head, rhinophores and dorsal surface of body have characteristic pattern of orange and white markings, including concentric rings of orange and purple on the pericardial hump. The cerata are light purple with a bright orange tip and the anterior and posterior edges of the cerata lined with white. There is a single digestive gland duct in the cerata. The cerata are able to inflate and deflate, so changing the  general shape of the body quite quickly.

  • Costa, A. (1869). Appendice al saggio sui molluschi Aeolididae del golfo Napoli. Gen. HermaeopsisAnnuario Museo di Zoologico della Universit  di Napoli, 5: 46-49.
  • 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
  • Lemche, H. and Thompson, T. E. (1974) Three opisthobranch gastropods new to the British fauna. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 41: 185-193.
  • Thompson, T. E. and Brown, G. H. (1976) British opisthobranch molluscs. Mollusca: Gastropoda, Synopses of the British fauna (new series), no 8. Linnean Society: London. 203 pp, 1 pl.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (March 18) Hermaea variopicta (Costa, 1869). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/hermvari

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