This small (about 11 mm, or about 0.5 inch) but endearing sea slug was originally identified as Flabellina dushia. It has a bluish-white, slightly translucent body with reddish cerata. The cerata contain expansions of the digestive tract that are used in some species to store the stinging cells of animals they eat such as sea anemones, hydroids, and sea fans. Not only the sea slugs can inhibit the action of stinging cells, but they also recycle the cells for their own defense. This slug was photographed a few years ago in Sarasota Bay, Florida, by Ángel Valdés (Cal Poly Pomona), during field work for the National Shell Museum.
A Little Sea Slug from Sarasota
Flabellina dushia from Sarasota Bay. Image by Angel Valdés.