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Clione limacina (Phipps, 1774) subsp. limacina (Phipps, 1774) forma gracilis (Massy, 1909)


This is a naked pelagic snail, up to 1 cm long, with a mainly transparent body that only shows orange/red colour in the tail, tentacles and mouth organs. The buccal cones are pointed, the body is slender. The reddish brown visceral mass is seen through the body wall. It is a rather quick swimmer that hunts shelled pteropods as food. It lives in the N-Atlantic Ocean in the upper water layers where it can occur in mass blooms (Clione l.l. gracilis).

Taxonomic Description

Body narrow, elongate, and pointed posteriorly. Head large, broader than long. The three pairs of buccal cones are longer and more pointed than in the forma limacina. Hooks less narrow and less attenuated near the apex than in the forma limacina, while the radula teeth are larger. About 30 hooks in each hook sac. The visceral mass occupies only the anterior half of the body. Foot parts well developed, lateral footlobes broad, pointed posteriorly, median lobe long, terminating acutely. The wings are long. The radula with about 18 to 35 transverse rows, has the formula 9-1-9 (6-1-6). The median teeth show a variable (Clione l.l. gracilis radula, Clione l.l. gracilis radula 2) dentated free border with a central incision.
Body length up to 10 mm.


A special description is not available.


This forma is a protandric hermaphrodite. The penis has a large penial sucker (Clione l.l. gracilis penis).


This forma is a carnivore.


This forma is restricted to the N-Atlantic. See also the explanation of distribution under C.l.l. limacina and the Clione l.l. gracilis map.


Clione gracilis Massy, 1909:48, pl. 1, figs. 1-4.
Holotype: BMNH 1911.4.5.1, spec. figured by Massy (alcohol collection), Paratypes: BMNH 1911.4.5.2-3, 2 spec. (alcohol collection).
Type locality: 55°1'N 10°45'W. Coll.: CFII stat. 231.

Clione limacina limacina gracilis