Elysia Pratensis Observational Study TWZ

The Wyld Zone

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Guess who's back, back again, Slug Mans' back and he brought friends.

Elysia Pratensis. An absolute joy to study along with Elysia Subornata. This is the slug I would recommend to start with if you want a slug companion. They breed readily, are EXTREMELY hardy and can stay attached to surfaces without being blown away.

Locomotion: Like many snails and slugs the Elysia Pratensis moves with a singular foot. Unlike other Elysia this species maintains and extremely solid connection and has no issues moving to and around high flow zones. I suspect they use their foot to form suction cups on hard surfaces like snails. Like Elysia Crispata these little guys will often travel along the surface of stiller waters but don't do it frequently. The reason why they do this escapes me entirely considering their diet tends not to float. The slugs will get anywhere they want, no commercial mesh will stop them from going in to overflows without restricting flow dangerously in most consumer systems.

Diet: The Elysia Pratensis appears to only identify Caulerpa as food, all species of Caulerpa have been sufficient for reproduction, however the Pratensis seems to prefer Caulerpa Verticallata . Like Crispata they are suctorial feeders and will suck out the cells to ingest them, I do not believe many of the chloroplasts are integrated in to the parapodia for photosynthesis. My reasoning for this is the short and flat parapodia and avoidance of direct light.

Breeding: They will spawn in a wide range of conditions. The conditions I have observed are :
Temp: 73-90
Salinity: 1.025-1.045
Light Cycle: Unimportant to life cycle other than food availability

Lifespan: Data Pending however I suspect around 8 months to 1 year maximum. Upon death the corpse will render in to a detritus and can be safely consumed by other inverts. The species seems to have a foul taste to some fish but no toxins or bacterial contamination concerns. This species may be capable of severing and ejecting its head but I have yet to observe this behavior under a multitude of scenarios.

Viability in a mixed reef: Excellent! This species can really hand a wide range of conditions and parameter swings. It will eat caulerpa but without large numbers the process is very slow and has little to no impact. It may be predated by hermits and other crabs and curious fish however chances are low when given caulerpa to hide on.

Needless to say a species only tank would be perfect for a slug only tank.

I have an endless supply of these slugs and their eggs so I will actually start selling them if anyone has any interest.
 
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The Wyld Zone

The Wyld Zone

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Do you have any pictures of your slugs? Also, where did you source Caulerpa verticillata (assuming you purchased the algae and discovered the slug's preference that way)?
Apparently I have no pictures of adult Pratensis but since they started breeding in all of my systems I have some baby pictures.

As for sourcing. Most of my Atlantic inverts are sourced locally, I head out to a few locations and harvest about 1lb or so, of various algae then I pick through it under a microscope. I found Elysia Pratensis and Subornata almost exclusively on Caulerpa Verticillata and after a few months of observation in conditions where the E Pratensis had access to a very wide range of algae I could determine that the algae they would go for immediately upon introduction after consuming their previously provided supply is Caulerpa Verticillata.
 
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It should be noted that I have discovered multiple species of Juliidae and Oxynoe not native to Florida while picking through Verticillata. I have a suspicion that the algae was seeded from a different ocean in the locations I collect at.
 
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Here's a Subornata outside of the acrylic breeding box in my display.
This guy is in the cross of 3 powerheads and a return. Any other slug would have been sent rocketing, these guys don't care.
 

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