Phyllaplysia lafonti

Phyllaplysia lafonti (Fischer, 1870)

Phyllaplysia lafonti by Miquel Pontes

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Euopisthobranchia  Jörger et al., 2010
Clade: Aplysiomorpha  Pelseneer, 1906
Superfamily: Aplysioidea  Lamarck, 1809
Family: Aplysiidae  Lamarck, 1809
Genus: Phyllaplysia  P. Fischer, 1872
Species: Phyllaplysia lafonti  P. Fischer, 1872


  • Aplysia brongniarti de Blainville, 1823
  • Phyllaplysia brongniartii (Blainville, 1823)
  • Phyllaplysia paulinoi Mazzarelli, 1893

The size of this species varies between 15 and 35 mm, although it has been cited a specimen of 50 mm in length. The body is flattened, somewhat narrower in the anterior side, and the outline is rounded or oval, shaped like a leaf. The coloration is variable but in most animals concentric green or gray bands can be seen on a white background. There are also white stain formed by groups of spots of the same color, aligned with the green or grey bands. The head is small and the rhinophores are green, they can also have a clear line in continuation of the ones on the back; anterior tentacles and rhinophores are rolled and the eyes are located before them. The parapodia are very poorly developed and completely cover the dorsal mantle. The mouth has a pair of short oral tentacles. The shell is rather flat, translucent, fragile and with growth striations.

Very little is known about the biology of this species besides it has long been confused with Petalifera petalifera. The specimens have been observed on algae and phanerogame seagrass like Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea which they are supposed to feed on.


  • Phyllaplysia. From Greek “phyllon”, leaf + “aplysia”, sponge, dirty.
  • Lafonti. Dedicated to Alexandre Lafont, who published on cephalopods at least between 1869-71 and may possibly (but perhaps not likely) be the same A. Lafont, who is honoured in the bryozoan name Savignyella lafontii (Audouin, 1826).

After its description in the French Atlantic coast in Arcachon Bay (Fischer, 1872) it has been observed in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, also in Madeira and very recently in Tufia, Gran Canaria (3/09/2016, J.J.Calderín Peñate, pers.comm.). There are photographs and reports from the same species in the Indo-Pacific (Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, French Polynesia) that should be confirmed by molecular analysis. In Catalonia it has been observed in the Mateua Island, the Medes Islands and Cala Aiguafreda.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Phyllaplysia lafonti
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Phyllaplysia lafonti based on our own records.


Phyllaplysia lafonti by Shane Siers (

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Phyllaplysia lafonti" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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