Student Research Projects

Ercolania Manglephila: A New Species of Limapontian Ascoglossan (=sacoglossan) from the Florida Keys (Opisthobranchia: Ascoglossa: Limapontiidae)

Student Andrea Slurff, ‘14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in Natural Sciences


A new species of ascoglossan, Ercolania manglephila is described from Key Largo, Florida. It was found with its algal food, Cladophoropsis sp., occasionally Chaetomorpha sp., or on the roots of the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle. It occurs seasonally with algal abundance. In view of the circumtropical distribution recorded for many Ercolania species, E. manglephila is compared not only with western Atlantic species, but also with all 24 species ascribed to the genus. This new species is unique in having a translucent body with bright green digestive diverticula visible within the numerous (up to 25 per side), variably-sized dark green cerata, as well as a vein-like pattern at the base of the rhinophores. It is thus far the second Ercolania species described with a Type 2 (lecithotrophic) developmental pattern.