species: Ercolania annelyleorum in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Ercolania annelyleorum

©Heike Waegele: Slug Ercolania annelyleorum in alga Boodlea composita at Lizard Island. Length is less than 5 mm. Green patches visible within the slug are undigested chloroplasts.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Gastropoda
Order Sacoglossa
Family Limapontiidae
Genus Ercolania
Species Ercolania annelyleorum



Distinguishing features

Tiny (less than 5 mm long) translucent to whitish slugs living within clusters of the alga Boodlea composita. Undigested chloroplasts form green branches showing through the body wall, especially in the cerata and body margin.


  • Up to 0.5 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Maximum known length



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution


These tiny slugs have only been found living within clusters of the alga Boodlea composita. They feed by piercing the algal cell walls and suck out the contents. Many juveniles can be found in an algal cluster suggesting that larvae stay close after hatching from egg clutches within the cluster (Waegele et al, 2010).

Web resources


  • Christa., G., K. Händeler, P. Kück, M. Vleugels, J. Franken, D. Karmeinski and H. Wägele (2015). Phylogenetic evidence for multiple independent origins of functional kleptoplasty in Sacoglossa (Heterobranchia, Gastropoda), Organisms, Diversity and Evolution, 15: 23-26. LIRS catalog number 1870.
  • Waegele, H., K. Stemmer, I. Burghardt and K. Haendeler (2010). Two new saccoglassan sea slug species (Opisthobranchia, Gastropoda): Ercolania annelyleorum sp. nov. (Limapontioidea) and Elysia asbecki sp. nov. (Plakobranchoidea), with notes on anatomy, histology and biology, Zootaxa, 2676: 1-28. LIRS catalog number 1370.