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Phyllidia varicosa

Phyllidia varicosa, a view from the head end

Phyllidia varicosa is a species of sea slug, a dorid nudibranch, a shell-less marine gastropod mollusk in the family Phyllidiidae.[2]



This species is widely distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific Oceans including the central Pacific and the Red Sea.


This is a large species that can be distinguished by its numerous (3 to 6), longitudinal, tuberculate notal ridges. The ridge and bases of the tubercles are a blue-grey colour. The tubercles are capped in yellow. The foot sole has a black longitudinal foot stripe. The rhinophoral clavus possesses 27 to 30 lamellae.[3]


Phyllidia varicose closely resembles juveniles of the sea cucumber, Pearsonothuria graeffei which are brightly coloured, being white and blue or black, with a few large, yellow, thorn-like projections. These bright colours warn predators of the toxicity of the sea cucumber, and this mimicry on the part of the sea slug species serves to protect it also. The adult sea cucumber has much duller coloration, but it is also much larger than the sea slug.[4]


  1. ^ Lamarck, J.B. (1801). Systeme des animaux sans vertebres. Paris.
  2. ^ Bouchet P. & Rocroi J.-P. (Ed.); Frýda J., Hausdorf B., Ponder W., Valdes A. & Warén A. 2005. Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families. Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology, 47(1-2). ConchBooks: Hackenheim, Germany. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997. 397 pp.
  3. ^ Rudman, W.B.. "Phyllidia varicosa". The Sea Slug Forum. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  4. ^ Invertebrate of the month: Pearsonothuria graeffei Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2012-02-16.

Further reading

  • Brunckhorst, D.J. (1993) The systematics and phylogeny of Phyllidiid Nudibranchs (Doridoidea). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 16: 1-107.


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