Limacia cockerelli
(MacFarland, 1905)

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Triophinae


West Coast of North America from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to Baja California, Mexico.


UPPER: Animal on its bryozoan prey, the orange brown colored Hincksina velata, at Cape Arago, Oregon, USA. [red colour form] Photo: Jeff Goddard.
LOWER: Shaw's Cove, Laguna Beach, California. [orange colour form] Photo: Bruce Wight.

This polycerid dorid, formerly known as Laila cockerelli,  reaches lengths of 26 mm and preys exclusively on the thinly encrusting, orange brown colored bryozoan, Hincksina velata. Like its close relative, Crimora coneja, Limacia cockerelli uses its radula to rasp entire zooids out of their minute calcified compartments, leaving behind the white skeleton of the bryozoan. Also like Crimora coneja, Limacia cockerelli lays its spiral egg ribbons flat, instead of on edge like most other dorid nudibranchs. The eggs of Limacia cockerelli are pink and develop into hatching planktotrophic veligers after 17 days at 10-13 degrees C (Goddard, 1984).

Limacia cockerelli occurs in two color forms. The northern form, [upper photo], has white tubercles down the middle of the dorsum. In specimens from south of Point Conception [lower photo] these tubercles are slightly longer and tipped with orange. Intermediate forms occur in central and northern California. According to Behrens (1991), another form in California has large red blotches on the dorsum.

It is found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to the southern of Baja California Sur, Mexico and has also been found at Bahia de Los Angeles in the Gulf of California.

Note added 25 Jan 2006: Laila MacFarland 1905 was synonymized with Limacia Muller, 1781, in Vallès, 2000 so the genus name has been changed in this Fact Sheet. W.B.Rudman.

  • Vallès, Y.; Valdés, A.; Ortea, J. 2000. On the phanerobranch dorids of Angola (Mollusca, Nudibranchia): A crossroads of temperate and tropical species. Zoosystema, 22(1): 15-31.
  • Behrens, D.W. (1991) Pacific Coast Nudibranchs. Sea Challengers: Monterey, California.
  • Goddard, J.H.R. 1984. The opisthobranchs of Cape Arago, Oregon, with notes on their biology and a summary of benthic opisthobranchs known from Oregon. The Veliger, 27(2): 143-163.
  • Goddard, J.H.R. (1987) Observations on the opisthobranch mollusks of Punta Gorda, California, with notes on the distribution and biology of Crimora coneja. The Veliger, 29(3): 267-273.
  •  Goddard, J.H.R. (1998) A summary of the prey of nudibranch molluscs from Cape Arago, Oregon. Opisthobranch Newsletter, 24: 11-14.
  • McDonald, G.W. (1983) A review of the nudibranchs of the California coast. Malacologia, 24: 114-276.
  • McDonald, G.R. & Nybakken, J.W. (1978) Additional notes on the food of some California nudibranchs with a summary of known food habits of California species. The Veliger, 21(1): 110-119.
  • Vallès, Y.; Valdés, A.; Ortea, J. 2000. On the phanerobranch dorids of Angola (Mollusca, Nudibranchia): A crossroads of temperate and tropical species. Zoosystema, 22(1): 15-31.
Authorship details
Goddard, J.H.R., 2000 (July 3) Limacia cockerelli (MacFarland, 1905). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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