MarLIN

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

Grey sea slug (Aeolidia papillosa)

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

Summary

Description

Aeolidia papillosa usually has grey or brown pigments causing variable colouration from cream, fawn, grey, brown, orange, pink or dark purple-brown. It is the largest Aeolid in the British Isles growing up to 12 cm in length. This sea slug has a characteristic white V-shaped mark on the front of its head. The front tentacles are cone-shaped with thick dark coloured bases and white tips. The body is covered in processes (cerata) that are elongated and flattened with white tips, arranged in 25 or more transverse rows. The middle of the back lacks cerata down the center. The eggs are spawned in a distinct thread coiled back and forth and laid in a spiral.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widespread throughout the British Isles.

Global distribution

Recorded in northern Europe, Atlantic and Pacific coast of America, Atlantic coast of Spain and France but more common in colder waters. Also recorded in Vancouver and Japan to depths of 800 m.

Habitat

This sea slugs usually lives in the intertidal and sublittoral areas, but has also been recorded to depths of 800 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Grows up to 12 cm in length.
  • Body mostly covered in elongated, flattened cerata with white tips.
  • Mid-dorsal area lacking cerata.
  • Front tentacles are cone-shaped, with dark thick bases and white thinner tips.
  • Has a white V-shaped mark on the front of its head.

Additional information

Feeds on a wide variety of sea anemones; e.g. Actinia equina, Anemonia viridis and Metridium dianthus in the intertidal, and Actinothoe sphyrodeta in the sublittoral (Picton & Morrow, 1994).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

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

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

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

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

Datasets

  1. Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, 2017. BRERC species records recorded over 15 years ago. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/h1ln5p accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  7. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2014. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/erweal accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  8. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/146yiz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2018-10-19

  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. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, 2018. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Shoresearch. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/1nw3ch accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Edwards, R.V. 2008. Aeolidia papillosa Grey 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 19-10-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1986

Last Updated: 03/06/2008