MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A sea slug (Acanthodoris pilosa)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Acanthodoris pilosa is easy to distinguish from other nudibranchs by its rounded, fluffy, soft-textured appearance. It has long, soft, pointed processes (papillae) all over its back, which are usually of a uniform length and colour. Colour is uniformly distributed and varies from white to brown and purplish-brown to charcoal grey. This sea slug usually grows up to 3 cm in length but may exceptionally reach 7 cm. Juveniles may have a speckled appearance. Two horn-like processes (rhinophores) at the front of the animal characteristically bend towards the rear and are much larger than the other processes (papillae). Up to nine large gills form a circle at the rear of the animal.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common all around the British Isles.

Global distribution

Recorded from the north-west coast of America, the British Isles. Scattered records along the coast of France up to Norway. 

Habitat

Acanthodoris pilosa is often found on the shore but has also been recorded to depths of 80 m.

Depth range

0-80 m

Identifying features

  • Round body with a 'fluffy' appearance.
  • The body has long, soft, pointed, almost uniform processes all over.
  • Variable uniform colour from white to brown and purplish-brown to charcoal grey.
  • Up to nine large gills at the rear forming a circle.
  • Rhinophores bend towards the rear.

Additional information

Feeds on encrusting bryozoans such as Alcyonidium hirsutum and Flustrellidra hispida.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.), 1995. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Volume 2. Molluscs to Chordates. Oxford Science Publications. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  2. Picton, B. E. & Morrow, C.C., 1994. A Field Guide to the Nudibranchs of the British Isles. London: Immel Publishing Ltd.

  3. Thompson, T. E. & Brown, G. H., 1976. British Opisthobranch Molluscs. London: Academic Press. [Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 8.]

Datasets

  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. IBIS Project Data. Occurrence dataset: https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland - restricted access. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/4bsawx accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  4. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/aurwcz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  5. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  6. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/xtrbvy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  7. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Biological survey of the intertidal chalk reefs between Folkestone Warren and Kingsdown, Kent 2009-2011. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  10. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  11. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  12. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2021. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2021-05-06

  13. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Molluscs (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jos5ga accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

  14. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project. Occurance dataset: http://www.sewbrec.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-02

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Edwards, R.V. 2008. Acanthodoris pilosa A sea slug. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 06-05-2021]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1984

Last Updated: 17/04/2008