Melibe pilosa
Pease, 1860

Family: Tethydidae


Hawaiian Islands


on algae-encrusted stones in a meter of water near shore at night. Photo taken Feb. 1991 at Makapu`u, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo: Keoki Stender.

Living animals are translucent white with various amounts of brown pigment, owing to the presence of symbiotic zooxanthellae. Large, isolated spots of dark brown may be present on the cerata. Scattered small spots of opaque white are distributed over much of the body’s surface. The oral hood is entire, circular and of moderate diameter. There are four rows of tentacles along the margin of the oral hood, with the innermost row containing the longest ones. The rhinophore sheath widens near its free end. Several papillae are present along the posterior margin of the sheath, including a multifid papilla at the posterior apex. The perfoliate rhinophores possess 9-11 lamellae. The triangular cerata are arranged in alternating rows with 5-8 cerata per side. The cerata have numerous elongate papillae scattered over their surface. Similar unbranched or branched papillae are present on the notum and sides of the animal. The anus is located immediately anterior to the second ceras on the right side of the body. The nephroduct is directly anterior to the anus. The gonopore is situated ventral to the anteriormost ceras and is surrounded by several conical papillae. The foot is narrow and rounded anteriorly.

Specimens have been found commonly in the Hawaiian Islands, where they inhabit intertidal and shallow water subtidal reef and sand flats. The animals are very cryptic on mixed sand, rock and algal substrata. [from Gosliner, 1987]

See Pease's original description.

• Pease, W.H. (1860) Descriptions of new species of mollusca from the Sandwich Islands. Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 28: 18-36 (part 1), 141-148 (part 2)
• Gosliner, T.M. (1987). Review of the Nudibranch Genus Melibe (Opisthobranchia: Dendronotacea) with descriptions of two new species. The Veliger, 29(4): 400-414

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2003 (October 2) Melibe pilosa Pease, 1860. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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