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Pleurobranchaea maculata facts for kids

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Pleurobranchaea maculata
Pleurobranchaea maculata.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
(unranked):
clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Nudipleura
clade Pleurobranchomorpha
Superfamily:
Pleurobranchoidea
Family:
Pleurobranchaeidae
Genus:
Pleurobranchaea
Species:
P. maculata
Binomial name
Pleurobranchaea maculata
Quoy & Gaimard, 1834

Pleurobranchaea maculata, or the grey side-gilled slug, is a species of sea slug, specifically a side-gill slug or notaspidean. It is a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Pleurobranchaeidae.

Distribution

This species occurs around the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. In 2009 it was reported far outside its native range, on the coast of Argentina from where it spread rapidly, currently encompassing ca. 2,000 km along the southwestern Atlantic coast.

Habitat

This side-gill slug is found intertidally in harbours, and to depths of up to 250 m off rocky coasts.

Description

This slug has no shell. The coloration is pale grey, densely patterned with short, brown lines. The animal is up to 100 mm in length.

Life habits

This slug eats sea anemones, marine worms, and molluscs.

In 2009, a major scare in the Auckland Region of New Zealand was sparked after several dogs died of tetrodotoxin poisoning after eating Pleurobranchaea maculata on beaches. Children and pet owners were asked to avoid beaches, and recreational fishing was also interrupted for a time. After exhaustive analysis, it was found that the sea slugs must have ingested tetrodotoxin.

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