Phyllodesmium longicirrum (Bergh, 1905) [Myrrhine]
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Phyllodesmium longicirrum is exceptionally large, often more than 10 cm long, one of the largest species of the genus,
along with Phyllodesmium magnum. Bill Rudman writes:
"It is probably the most spectacular of the aeolids which have evolved a symbiotic relationship with single-celled plants (zooxanthellae),
the cerata have evolved into large flattened 'solar paddles' to maximise the animal's ability to 'farm' the plants in its body."
This shot shows Phyllodesmium longicirrum upon its food Sarcophyton sp..
The brown rings on the body, rhinophores, and cerata, are gardens of single-celled plants [zooxanthellae] which the animal obtains from its food.
The pale whitish branching in the cerata are the ducts of the gut which take the zooxanthellae from the stomach out to these gardens.
Like other members of the genus Phyllodesmium it is
what Bill Rudman calls
"Solar-powered Sea Slugs".
More information on Phyllodesmium longicirrum are on
Bill Rudman's Sea-Slug Forum!
How to cite:
Köhler, E. (2019), published 19 December 2019, Phyllodesmium longicirrum (Bergh, 1905)