Pleurobranchaea inconspicua

Image courtesy of Anne DuPont

Copyright 2011, Anne DuPont

Pleurobranchaea inconspicua Bergh, 1897

Identifying Pleurobranchaea inconspicua, is as inconspicuous as the animal's appearance. Since Bergh's original description several authors have given this species other names (synonyms) such as P. hedgpethi Abbott 1952, P. hamva Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus 1957 and P. gela Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus 1966. We now suspect that even P. bonnieae named after slugmaster, Terry Gosliner's wife Bonnie, is likely a synonym, also. See Caribbean Sea Slugs , pages 112-113.

This species translucent white animal with brown reticulations is extremely cryptic in coloration. Add this to its preference to hind under shells, coral and debris, it's name "inconspicua" is perfect. One kind of fun feature of the species anatomy is the small spur at the end of the foot. What's that for anyway?

The species has a very wide Atlantic range including West Africa, and the western Atlantic of Belize, Honduras, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Brazil.

Its egg mass is a typical pleurobranch tubular shaped ribbon. We don't know much a P. inconspicua's biology, but if it is similar to Pleurobranchaea californica, (BOW's 80 and 749 ) it is a voracious opportunist, thought to feed on anything in its path. Well maybe! See the online article below dealing with Pleurobranchaea californica that was just published a couple of days ago!

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Jan., 2012
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WEBMASTER'S NOTES: As luck would have it, veteran La Jolla Shores diver and U/W photographer Tracy Clark was kind enough to forward an online article that went live Jan. 26th dealing with the decision making processes of Pleurobranchaea californica as to whether it will feed or not! The article is entitled "Attack Or Retreat? Circuit Links Hunger And Pursuit in Sea Slug Brain"! Local divers here in San Diego have long been of the opinion that P. californica will eat anything in it's path! Evidently this is not the case! This guy appears to have more smarts then we have been giving it credit for!

Michael Miller
San Diego, Calif
Jan., 2012
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Anne DuPont on location in the Bahamas

Anne DuPont is a scientific diver and underwater photographer specializing in opisthobranchs and polyclad flatworms. She is a Museum Associate in Malacology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and is a volunteer scientific diver and underwater photographer for the "Flatworm Wrangler's Team" at the University of New Hampshire. She also works with the Natural History Museum of Florida. Her photos have been published in numerous books, magazines, and educational DVDs.

Anne is retired from IBM. She and her husband live in Delray Beach, Florida. They spend 4 months a year on their trawler in the Bahamas. Her favorite pastime at home is "muck" diving in Lake Worth Lagoon.

She is one of the co-authors of " Caribbean Sea Slugs , A field guide to the opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical northwestern Atlantic."

Send Anne email at akdupont@bellsouth.netm

From left to right, Terry Gosliner, Angle Valdes, Dave Behrens La Jolla, Calif.

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© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 2012. All Rights Reserved.