Ornate Elysia

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Elysia ornata - (Swainson, 1840)
Ornate Elysia

Elysia ornata.jpg

An algae-eating sea slug from the Caribbean. Scott W. Michael


This sea slug reportedly feeds on a few specific algae, such as Bryopsis spp. It owes its green coloration to chloroplasts in the tissues. It lacks the frilly structures on the back seen in Elysia cris­pata and has instead two linear tissue flaps arising from the sides of the foot and carried over the back. Appears as if dusted with fine, colored dots. The two flaps are edged in black, with a lighter strip of orange, yellow, or beige separating the black border from the green of the body. Has the characteristic rolled rhinophores seen on Elysia cris­pata.

Family: Elysiidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Maximum length: 5 cm (2 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Lighting: Needs bright lighting.

Placement: In full bright light.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Feeds on algae: Bryopsis and Caulerpa.

Aquarium Compatibility

Large, active fish may bother this species.

Special Care

Needs lots of food. Requires a calm tank; does not do well with surge.


If starved, it will change color from green to tan as it digests the chloroplasts in its tissues, leaving only its basic coloration.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: RLS