Flabellina pedata unfortunately has no common name (though is sometimes synonymised as Doris pedata or Coryphella pedata). It is a species of Nudibranch, a marine mollusc, so called as their gills are not enclosed and hang over the back (nudus – naked, brankhia – gills). Nudibranchs are small, generally colourful, molluscs lacking an external shell, hermaphrodites and exclusively marine. Of the 3,000 species of nudibranch that occur worldwide, 5% are found in the British Isles.
A bright pink or violet species, F. pedata is the only pink/violet nudibranch in Irish waters and can grow up to 48mm in length and is unlikely to be confused with any other species found in Irish waters. Indeed, generally the only issue with this species is due to their size as they can be difficult to spot, as below.
Larvae of the species are planktonic with spawning occurring May to September. F. pedata is found from Norway to the western Mediterranean and feeds on Eudendrium ramosum (L.), a species of hydroid. Egg masses are thin white spirals, coiled around E. ramosum. Likely found on all coasts where suitable habitat is available, gaps in distribution are likely to be an artefact of recording effort.
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