Lettuce Sea Slug (Fancy)
Scientific name: The sea slug on the left is Elysia clarki and the sea slug on the right is Elysia crispata.
Common name: Lettuce Sea Slug (Fancy)
Species Codes for Trip Ticket Reporting:
Marine Life Code: 739 - Sea slug, lettuce sea slug (=fancy)
License and Endorsements Required for Commercial Harvest:
SPL - Saltwater Products License
RS - Restricted Species Endorsement
ML - Marine Life Endorsement
* These are unofficial designations, please see Florida Administrative Code Chapter 68B for specifics, https://www.flrules.org/.
Some Elysia species are found in the Florida Keys. Elysia clarki (pictured on the left) is typically found inshore, whereas Elysia crispata (pictured on the right) is found on reefs.
Both E. clarki and E. crispata retain living chloroplasts that continue to photosynthesize within the body of the sea slug, providing sugars for its nutrition. They have become "solar powered." The process of taking chloroplasts from algal cells and storing them is called kleptoplasty.
Image Credit: Dr. Sidney Pierce, Univ. of S. Florida