This species is easily identified by the papillae, usually white in color, found on the rhinophores and parapodia. It is pale green in color with white patches and a white/yellow margin along the parapodial margin.
"Body pale green with thick white parapodial margins, white head and parapodia, brown transverse bands on parapodia, numerous white papillae on both surfaces of parapodia, head, and rhinophores; pericardium brownish, iridescent white blotches are scattered on the upper surface of the parapodia, increasing in size toward the tail. A line of scattered brown granules occurs on the white parapodial margin, forming a distinct black line in larger animals (>1 cm). Foot lighter green than parapodia. A prominent sperm-filled vesicle lies at about the middle of each side of the upper parapodium surface. Pericardial hump short, with one to three pairs (dependent on size) of vessels radiating laterally, one pair posterolaterally. In some specimens, especially larger ones, the posterolateral vessels originate as a singel posteriorly directed vessel which divides part way between the pericardium and the tail. Specimens from southern Castle Harbour [Bermuda], from Udotea, were olive green and lacked papillae but in other respects were typical papillosa. Non-Bermudan records of E. papillosa are tied to a description of Florida animals (Marcus and Marcus, 1967), which noted that Verrill's description lacked critical characteristics. The present observation validates the Marcus' conclusion the non-Bermudan records represent the same species. E. patina Marcus, 1980 is similar to E. papillosa in the presence of "gametolytic vesicles" and dentition; a more thorough description of patina from living animals would aid separation of the two species. Dissection of "gametolytic vesicles" in several living animals of E. papillosa and Florida specimens of E. patina showed that they were filled with highly motile sperm; these structures appear to function as storage vesicles for viable sperm, and the term "gametolytic" should be replaced by "gametic" until function is defined." (Clark, 1984, Nautilus 98(2), p. 89-90).
Egg masses are deposited with a thick ribbon of white extra-capsular yolk and larvae are lecithtrophic.
The type locality is Bermuda. This species is also found in Florida, Curacao, and throughout the Caribbean (Marcus, 1980).
Length reaches 12 mm (Marcus, 1980)
Depth range (m): 2 - 2
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Life History and Behavior
Verril (1901) noted that these animals swim (Marcus, 1980).
Like all sacoglossans, this species is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. The penis ends in a triangular penal stylet (Marcus, 1980).
Developing larvae are lecithotrophic.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Elysia papillosa
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Elysia papillosa
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Krug, Patrick J. 2009. Not My “Type”: Larval Dispersal Dimorphisms and Bet-Hedging in Opisthobranch Life Histories. Biological Bulletin 216: 355–372.
Valdés, Angel, Jeff Hammon, David Behrens, and Anne Dupont. 2006. Caribbean Sea Slugs. Sea Challengers Natural History Books. 289 pp.
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