How does it look like?
Opisthobranch about 3 millimeters long, wider on the part of the rhinophores (antennae located on the head) and on the part of the gills. The rigid body is covered with papillae (tuberculated protuberances) symmetrically distributed along the body (longitudinal axis) and small spicules (calcareous needles). The gills are protected anteriorly by three papillae larger than the others. The rhinophores are smooth and have a baina (each one) where they can be retracted if they need protection. Colour is usually white, sometimes a bit transparent. Rhinophores and papillae can show sometimes a brownish tint.
Where does it live?
We can usually find it at rocky bottoms at depths down to 30 meters. It is not common to find them, although there are documented findings on the east coast of the spanish peninsula, Gibraltar and the Balearic Islands. Citations outside the Mediterranean have not been confirmed due to the problematic similarity with another very similar species, Aegires punctilucens.
How does it feed?
Like almost all mollusks, it has a radula (toothed tongue) by which it fragments and crushes food before swallowing it. It seems that its diet is based on sponges such as Leucosolenia sp. or algae such as Codium sp., although it is not well documented.
How does it reproduce?
Individuals are hermaphrodites (they have reproductive apparatus of both sexes) and reproduce by cross-fertilization (one individual fertilizes another and the other way around, at the same time). The clutches can be found between September and October.
Is a confusion possible?
Aegires leuckarti is very similar to Aegires punctilucens. In general, you will not find the former species below 30 meters depth, while the latter usually lives below 30m.
· Aegires leuckarti and Aegires punctilucens have been considered the same species, subspecies and distinct species. Initially, Aegires leuckarti was considered a juvenile stage of Aegires punctilucens, but a few years later, they were considered subspecies, based on differential development of the reproductive system (faster in Aegires leuckarti), differences between laying seasons and differences in depth of individuals (90% of Aegires leuckarti above 30 m and 66% of Aegires punctilucens below). Finally, in 1987, Templado et al. found the two subspecies in the same habitat - Cabo de Palos (Murcia) - but found no hybrids, so they were able to confirm reproductive isolation and considered them distinct species.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Mollusca, Class: Gasteropoda, Subclass: Opistobranchia, Order: Nudibranchia, Suborder: Doridacea, Family: Aegiretidae, Suborder: Doridacea, Family: Aegiretidae