15 December 2012

Two sea angels

Photo by: Alexander Semenov
Edited by: Jeniffer Espedido

Clione limacina belongs to the family of sea angels (Clionidae). They are free-swimming non-shelled marine gastropods. They use their wing-like parapodia to swim across the water column [1]. Their slow movement can be described as that of an angel flapping its wings, thus the term "sea angel". These col water hermaphrodites feed on sea butterflies, specifically Limacina helicina and Limacina retroversa, the latter being more favored. The sea angel everts its six adhesive buccal cones towards its prey, inserts its chitinous hooks into the prey’s body then engulfs it wholly [2].

This species was featured in an article entitled “The 12 Plankton of Christmas” by Michele Collet back in 2010.

To learn more about the behavior of sea angels or if you have other information you want to add about them, visit SeaLifeBase or become a collaborator and email us at sealifebase@fin.ph.


[1] Satterlie, R.A., and A.N. Spencer. 1985. Swimming in the pteropod mollusk, Clione limacine: II. Physiology. J. Exp. Biol. 116:205-222.
[2] Conover, R.J., and C.M. Lalli. 1972. Feeding and growth in Clione limacina (Philipps), a pteropod mollusc. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 9:279-302.

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