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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Sacoglossa > Family Elysiidae
Ornate leaf slug
Elysia ornata
Family Plakobranchidae
updated Sep 12
Where seen? Often mistaken for leafy seaweed, this slug is seen on all our shores. However, it appears to be seasonal. Sometimes seen in large numbers, at other times, none is to be seen.

Features: 4-6cm. Body long with a pair of very large 'wings' (called parapodia). The overall body colour of the slug may be shades of green, yellow or even white. It is believed that the colour depends on how much and what seaweed is in the animal's digestive system. But all have a black margin on the edge of the parapodia, with an orange or yellow margin next to the black. There is a pair of long thick tentacles with tips in the same colour banding as the body edge. The body may have black spots. It may also have white spots, which are glands that secrete a white substance that may repel predators. The parapodia are often held in ruffles so that the animal resembles seaweed.

What does it eat? This slug is believed to eat the Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) Indeed, leaf slugs are commonly seen there is a bloom of this green feathery seaweed on the shores. See details in the Family Elysiidae for more about how the slug eats and uses the seaweed's chloroplasts.

St. John's Island, Jun 07

Pulau Sekudu, Apr 06

Sentosa, Jan 05

Sentosa, Apr 04

Mating slugs
St. John's Island, May 05

The white bits are the reproductive organs.

Also seen among Sargassum seaweeds.
St John's Island, Oct 11

Sentosa, Apr 04

Just mated?

Ornate leaf slugs on Singapore shores

Photos of Ornate leaf slugs for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Chek Jawa, Dec 02

Changi, May 11

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast, May 08
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Tuas, Mar 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Pulau Jong, Apr 11
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Pulau Biola, May 10

Elysia ornata @ Tanah Merah 06Dec2009 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Links References
  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Chou, L. M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Wells, Fred E. and Clayton W. Bryce. 2000. Slugs of Western Australia: A guide to the species from the Indian to West Pacific Oceans. Western Australian Museum. 184 pp.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2001. 1001 Nudibranchs: Catalogue of Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.144pp.
  • Coleman, Neville, 1989. Nudibranchs of the South Pacific Vol 1. 64 pp.
  • Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach. 2010. Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications. 497pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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