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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Bornella stellifer | Jason Sheehan




Bornella stellifer (Adams & Reeve 1848)

Starry Bornella nudibranch

Jason Sheehan (2012)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour

Anatomy & Physiology

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links


 Bornella stellifer, despite its flamboyant colouration, is a member of the cryptic community living from high in the intertidal on the underside of rocky substrates, to depths recorded at up to 40m (REFERENCE). As an intertidal creature, it is prone to desiccation while being above sea level for long periods at a time. But this little nudibranch embraces this, entering an almost hibernation-like state where it reduces to almost 1/3 of its total body size, retracting itself into nothing more than a rubbery mark on the underside of the rocky surface it calls home.  

 During September 2012, this species was studied as part of a marine invertebrates course through The University of Queensland. While several observations were made, this truly astonishing animal posed even more questions than it answered. This species feeds exclusively upon hydroids (Pola et al. 2009). This makes it an unusual species to find high in an intertidal zone, and begs questions of how it is able to survive in such conditions, especially in the heat of its tropical distribution. Is this an adaptation? Or is this an ability seldom seen due to this animal’s unusual means of desiccation? In any case, there is much more left to learn about this unique species. 



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