Elysia viridis

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Elysia viridis
Elysia viridis.png
A live individual of Elysia viridis on brown algae.
Elysia viridis 2.jpg
Four live individuals of Elysia viridis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia

clade Euthyneura
clade Panpulmonata
clade Sacoglossa
clade Plakobranchacea

Superfamily: Plakobranchoidea
Family: Plakobranchidae
Genus: Elysia
Species: E. viridis
Binomial name
Elysia viridis
(Montagu, 1804)

Elysia viridis, the sap-sucking slug, is a small-to-medium-sized species of green sea slug, a marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusc in the family Plakobranchidae.

This sea slug resembles a nudibranch, but it is not closely related to that clade of gastropods. It is instead a sacoglossan.

Distribution[edit]

This species lives in the northeastern Atlantic, from Norway to the Mediterranean Sea as well as all around the South African coast. It is found from the intertidal zone to a depth of about 5 m.

Description[edit]

The animal grows up to 30 mm in total length. It has a smooth bright green or brown body with iridescent spots and two wing-like flaps extending along its sides. These flaps are usually folded back. The rhinophores are rolled.[1]

Ecology[edit]

This species lives in a subcellular endosymbiotic relationship with chloroplasts derived from the alga Codium fragile. These chloroplasts provide the Elysia host with the products of photosynthesis.[2][3][4] Elysia viridis feeds on Codium, and absorbs its chloroplasts. These are then retained unharmed in the slug's body and the photosynthetically derived sugars produced are used by the slug to supplement its diet. The egg mass is a flat greenish coil of several turns.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zsilavecz, G. (2007). Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay. ISBN 0-620-38054-3
  2. ^ R.K. Trench, J.E. Boyle and D.C. Smith (1973). "The Association between Chloroplasts of Codium fragile and the Mollusc Elysia viridis. I. Characteristics of isolated Codium chloroplasts". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 184 (1074): 51–61. doi:10.1098/rspb.1973.0030. 
  3. ^ R.K. Trench, J.E. Boyle and D.C. Smith (1973). "The Association between Chloroplasts of Codium fragile and the Mollusc Elysia viridis. II. Chloroplast Ultrastructure and Photosynthetic Carbon Fixation in E. viridis". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 184 (1074): 63–81. doi:10.1098/rspb.1973.0031. 
  4. ^ R.K. Trench, J.E. Boyle and D.C. Smith (1974). "The Association between Chloroplasts of Codium Fragile and the Mollusc Elysia viridis. III. Movement of Photosynthetically Fixed 14C in Tissues of Intact Living E. viridis and in Tridachia crispata". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 185 (1081): 453–464. doi:10.1098/rspb.1974.0029. 
  5. ^ GOSLINER, T.M. 1987. Nudibranchs of Southern Africa ISBN 0-930118-13-8

See also[edit]

External links[edit]