Orange-clubbed sea slug

Orange-clubbed sea slug ©Alex Mustard/2020VISION

Orange-clubbed Sea Slug

Scientific name: Limacia clavigera
A small colourful sea slug that can be found grazing on sea mats on the rocky shore and beyond the low water mark.

Species information

Statistics

Length: Up to 2cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

The Orange-clubbed Sea Slug is a type of nudibranch. They are found on the lower shore and in shallow coastal waters down to at least 20m deep. They live on seaweeds such as kelp and also on rocks. Orange-clubbed Sea Slugs feed on sea mats (bryozoans), a colony of animals that live attached to the surface of seaweeds. Sea Slugs are hermaphrodites - meaning they are both male and female. Orange-clubbed Sea Slugs lay thousands of eggs in a long spiral on seaweed.

How to identify

A small sea-slug reaching a maximum of 2cm in length, they can be hard to spot. They have a white body covered in bright orange spots and orange tipped stalks or clubs.

Distribution

Found on all UK coasts, except in South East England.

Did you know?

Their scientific name, Limacia clavigera, means a slug carrying clubs. The orange clubs covering its body have different functions, including taste and smell. Some contain defensive glands which produce chemicals that taste nasty to other predators and stop the sea slug being eaten.

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.