Lettuce Sea Slug - Elysia crispata
Two almost identical species share the common name "Lettuce Sea Slug" or "Lettuce Nudibranch": Elysia crispata (Caribbean) and Elysia diomedea (Pacific). While closely resembling and commonly referred to as "Nudibranchs", they belong to a related group of animals and are easier to maintain, care for and feed than many other true nudibranchs.
These slugs are herbivorous nudibranches whose diet centers on filamentous green algae. They are typically green or yellowish with pink, orange, and brown markings. Their flap-like appendages are folded and frilled giving them a lettuce-like appearance. These species are partially photosynthetic and should be provided with plenty of green algae to thrive.
The term "nudibranch" means "naked gill" and refers to the fringy, tassel-like gills visible on many species. This name can refer to the animals that we commonly refer to as "sea slugs" as well as the Sea Hares popular for algae control. As a group, there is not much known about many species of nudibranchs and sea slugs, and more are being discovered and reclassified continuously. While some like the Sea Hares are well studied and we know enough about their life cycles and diets for them to be maintained, the diet and requirements of most is largely unknown. Most are thought to feed on sponges, polyps, tunicates. Some of the most colorful species are actively collected and sold for aquariums but many more come as "hitchhikers" on rock and corals, for better or for worse.
Use caution when placing any sea slug or related animal in your reef system if its diet is an unknown. Sea Slug, Nudibranchs and Sea Hares in aquariums are generally shortlived, both due to their natural short lifespans as well as the difficulty of meeting their dietary requirements.
F93 0045 0171
That Fish Place
|Common Name||Lettuce Sea Slug|
|Scientific Name||Elysia crispata|
|Max Size (in inches)||3|
|Min Tank Size (in gallons)||30|
|Specific Gravity Range||1.022-1.026|
|Toxic||Yes, if stressed or eaten|
|Armed Forces Americas|
|Armed Forces Europe|
|Armed Forces Pacific|
Ratings & Reviews
by John Ho
Warning they really do look like lettuce, I almost made the mistake of eating one so be very careful because the really do resemble lettuce.
elysia crispata vs. elysia clarki
by sea slug fanatic
Although the sea slug in the image resembles elysia crispata, it looks more like elysia clarki. They are extremely similar but the "ruffles" on their back are a lot more apparent on a crispata.
lettuce sea slugs
awesome, cute and easy to raise
elysia crispata - not actually a nudibranch
easy mistake to make, but elysia crispata is simply a sea slug. please don't make the mistake of thinking nudibranchs are easy to raise - unlike the crispata, they're usually toxic and picky coral-eaters with short lifespans.