This species has been observed on Reunion and Madagascar Islands
Found in warm temperate and tropical waters throughout the world
Maximal size :150 mm
Species characteristics :
They have the characteristic branched papillae on the body, and bright colored blue to green eye-spots scattered over the body.
No dark longitudinal lines observed on the mantle
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Photo Christophe Cadet
Reunion, Etang salé on the rocky coast, less 1 m, November 2010
See more about : Sightening and mating periods
See more about : Looking for a stowaway on Bursatella leachii
Identification proposed by Hsini Lin
Bursatella leachii is found in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters throughout the world, and more than a half-dozen geographical subspecies are recognized by some opisthobranch workers, in the Gulf of Florida the subspecies is called B. leachii plei, in South African waters both B. leachii africana and B. leachii leachii are reported (Gosliner, 1987), but many opisthobranch workers think that we have to considered than there is only one species with hight degree of variability...
Synonymous : (according Worms). A large among of synonymous for this species
- Aclesia africana Engel, 1926, A. glauca Cheeseman, 1878, A. ocelligera Bergh, 1902, A. rosea Engel, 1926, Aplysia bursatella Rang, 1834, Bursatella lacinulata Gould, 1852, B. leachii africana (Engel, 1926), B. leachii lacinulata Gould, 1852, B.leachii rosea (Engel, 1926), Notarchus brevipes Hägg, 1904, N. cirrosus Stimpson, 1855, N. intrapictus Cockerell, 1893, N. laciniatus Rüppell & Leuckart, 1830, N.leachii (Blainville, 1817), N. leachii cirrosus Stimpson, 1855, N. villosus O'Donoghue, 1929, Ramosaclesia rex Allan, 1932
Bibliographic data :
blue-green eyespots can be abcent in some specimens.
The degree of spotting, and the colour of the spots, seems to be quite variable in local populations.
Similarly the branched papillae covering the body varies in density and length of the papillae (but this is hard to quantify because the papillae are capable of considerable contraction and expansion). One of the reasons they are so well camouflaged are these branched papillae. One school of thought used to suggest that the papillae acted as secondary gills. Bill Rudman suspect their main function is camouflage, breaking up the edge of the animal so that potential predators don't get a clear picture of an object.
Bursatella is one of the sea hares that gives off purple ink when disturbed
Like other sea hares it lays large bundles or masses of eggs which look like yellow rope.
Feeds on Cyanobacteria.
This species looks like Stylocheilus striatus but there is some differences.
- The parapodial flaps are almost completely fused in Bursatella, but not in Stylocheilus
- Stylocheilus striatus have usually dark longitudinal lines, not observed in Bursatella leachii
- The foot sole of Bursatella leachii have numerous small dark dots. The sole of Stylocheilus striatus have dark longitudinal lines
Bill Rudman Seaslug site : Sea Slug Forum : Bursatella leachii
Nudipixel Bursatella leachii
Blainville H.M.D. de (1817). Bursatella , p. 138, in : Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles (F. Cuvier, ed.), vol. 5, supplément. Levrault, Strasbourg & Le Normant, Paris
Eales, N.B. & Engel, H. (1935) The genus Bursatella de Blainville. Proceedings of the Malacological Society, 21: 279-303
Other photos of Bursatella leachii :
Reunion, Saint leu, less 1 m, 28 November 2006, size : 40 mm
Specimen with a different pattern like specimen from Mozambique by Valda Fraser
Reunion, Etang salé, less 1 m, 28 November 2010, size : 35-40 mm
Reunion, Etang salé, less 1 m, 16 April 2010, size : 10 mm
Madagascar, west coast of Madagascar, 25 Jully 2003
Found it on the west coast of Madagascar, in shallow water in a clay area in an estuary.
The foot sole with numerous small dark dots (a) The sole of Stylocheilus striatus have dark longitudinal lines
Bursatella is one of the sea hares that gives off purple ink (b) when disturbed
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