taylori Dall, 1900
Common name(s): Zebra leafslug, Taylor's sea hare, green sea slug
zostericola, Petalifera taylori
Order Anaspidea (clade
taylori, 5 cm
long, found on eelgrass slightly subtidally in Padilla Bay.
|(Photo by: Dave
Cowles, July 2016 )
This 'sea slug' looks
like a striped nudibranch.
However, it is not a nudibranch.
As a member of Order Anaspidea or Aplysiomorpha (sea hares), they have
no 'head shield' as do the Cephalaspideans,
but they do have rhinophores
as do the nudibranchs.
Most have a small, flexible, proteinaceous internal shell (which nudibranchs
do not have), and most also have longitudinal flaps ('parapodia')
along the dorsum
in which the gills are hidden. This species has a body dorsoventrally
flattened like most nudibranchs
do. The dorsal
parapodial flaps are not well developed, though the gill is found
the right of the dorsal
midline and about 2/3 of the way back on the body (photo).
The foot is off-white (photo).
is greenish with longitudinal black and white longitudinal stripes and
also smaller black stripes or rows of black dots that are oriented
Sometimes the animal's small, clear, flat shell can be seen on the dorsum
just above the gill slit. Length up to 8 cm, but more
How to Distinguish
from Similar Species:
This is a distinctive species found in eelgrass. At first
it may appear like the nudibranch Armina
californica, but A.
californica has gills under the dorsum
on both sides of the body instead of in a dorsal
slit, and the longitudinal stripes are raised ridges. The
hares on the Pacific Coast of North America (Aplysia
spp) live farther south in California, are larger, are laterally
compressed instead of dorsoventrally
flattened, have much better-developed parapodial flaps on the
and have an entirely different color pattern.
Canada to Baha California, Mexico
Low intertidal to
subtidal in eelgrass
History: This species
specializes in living on Zostera
marina eelgrass, where it is often found wedged between
the bottom of the blades. It feeds on diatoms and other
growing on the eelgrass. Although its longitudinal stripes
look distinctive, it often aligns itself with the eelgrass blade and
in quite well. The eggs are attached in rectangular packets
eelgrass in the summer. It has no pelagic
larval stage--it hatches as a crawling juvenile. The lifespan is said
be as short as 3-8 months.
This species is a hermaphrodite,
as is characteristic of opisthobranchs. It has only one gonopore
and seems to engage in simultaneous internal fertilization and
This means that the gonopore
may simultaneously contain its own sperm which are being ejected into
copulating partner, the sperm being received from its partner, and a
of eggs which are being laid.
and Hanby, 2005
et al., 1980
General Notes and
Observations: Locations, abundances,
of the head
view of the posterior
part of the body (the head is to the bottom left) shows the slit and
to the right of the midline of the dorsum,
about 2/3 of the way back on the body, in which the gills are found.
The underside is off-white.
Authors and Editors
Dave Cowles (2016): Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles (2007)
Salish Sea Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla