During the last 30 years, studies on Elysia timida (Risso, 1818) have addressed various aspects related to food sources, photosynthetic efficiency of kleptoplasts, population genetics, chemical ecology and reproductive biology, both in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon. E. timida shows a strong specific interaction with Acetabularia acetabulum, retaining functional chloroplasts for at least 45 days and obtaining extra energy in periods when food resources are scarce. It shows control of parapodia, avoiding pigment photodestruction under oversaturated light conditions. The chemical ecological relationships established between E. timida and its potential predator fish, Thalassoma pavo, have also been evaluated, and it has been found that that the extracts of the mollusc contain repellent and unpalatable polypropionate compounds. Population genetics has demonstrated the genetic divergence between populations showing high and significant values of FST and genetic distances, and at least six privative alleles that are not shared with Mediterranean populations have been detected in lagoon populations. This sacoglossan is a poecilogonic species, and its lagoon populations show a greater reproductive output than Mediterranean populations; they produce a greater number of egg masses and embyros per individual, and the capsules have a wider diameter.
Elysia timida, Kleptoplasts, Environmental stress, Chemicals ecology, Genetic divergence, Poecilogonic specie
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