Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Winter 2013


The anemone species Aiptasia is a nuisance pest that can quickly out-compete many species in a coral reef aquarium. The aeolid nudibranch Berghia verrucicornis, now officially known as Aeolidiella stephanieae, consumes only anemones of the Aiptasia species, a feature that has increased its popularity among aquarium overseers everywhere. Not much information exists on the digestive process of these aeolids, but what exists notes that A. stephaniae seem to house parts of the anemone it consumes in the cerata on its back, a practice commonly seen in other aeolids that feed on cnidarian species. By observing the location of nematocysts in A. stephaniae at different intervals, we may be able to determine the path that nematocysts take on their route to the cerata. To observe this trend, we tested three different live stains to determine its potential as a viable stain. The anemones were bathed in the selected stain and fed to the nudibranchs. We found that using a 6.8x10-5 M solution of Aniline Blue was the best for viewing. The A. stephaniae were collected at different times after feeding and fixed so that they might be viewed by light microscopy. Data based on the orientation and location of nematocysts was collected and analyzed.