II. HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
Spurilla neapolitana is found throughout the world's warm oceans from the Mediterranean, to the West Atlantic from Florida to Brazil, and in the East Pacific (Baja California) (Garcia and Cervera 1985).
Spurilla neapolitana is found in the Indian River Lagoon.
III. LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY
Age, Size, Lifespan:
This large aeolid nudibranch grows to at least 70 mm in the Mediterranean.
An individual of Spurilla neapolitana can store nearly 3,300 unfired nematocysts derived from its prey in cnidosacs located in the cerata. Immature nematocysts obtained during grazing continue to mature within the cnidosacs and can be used as a defense against predators (Greenwood and Mariscal 1984).
Astyris lunata have separate sexes and males have a penis (Brusca
and Brusca 1990). Reproduction occurs by copulation. Members of the
family Columbellidae lay egg capsules with multiple eggs per capsule.
V. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Spurilla neapolitana preys on Cnidarians and incorporates unfired nematocysts in their cerata (Marin and Ros 1991).
Spurilla neapolitana is also thought to harbour zooxanthellae, obtained from preying on sea anemones, for its own nutritionally needs. One study suggests that cnidarians may be re-infected with zoozanthellae from the feces of the nudibranch as they remain photosynthetically active after leaving S. neapolitana (Marin and Ros 1991).
Garcia JC and JL Cervera. 1985. Revision of Spurilla neapolitana
Delle Chiaje, 1823 (Mollusca: Nudibranchiata) Journal of Molluscan Studies
Greenwood PG and RN Mariscal. 1984. Immature nematocyst incorporation by
the aeolid nudibranch Spurilla neapolitana. Marine Biology
ITIS. Integrated taxonomic information system. Available online.
Marin A and J Ros. 1991. Presence of intracellular zooxanthellae in
Mediterranean nudibranchs. Journal of Molluscan Studies 57, no. 4 suppl.
The Sea Slug Forum. Available online.
Melany P. Puglisi, Smithsonian Marine Station
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Page last updated: October 1, 2008