Nudibranchs - Sunshine Coast etc. / 8112a
All photos Copyright ©2003-2023 Gary Cobb and contributing photographers
08 /05/04
Gary Cobb 0416 048 100
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Scutus antipodes  Montfort, 1810
Location: Shellacy Reef, Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba, Queensland Australia
Size: 32 - 115 mm
Depth: 15 m and common intertidal under rocks
Temperature: 22 C
FAMILY: Fissurellidae

Photograph by Gary Cobb - Copyright 2003-2023

ie. Elephant Slug, Shield Slug, Ducksbill Limpet

Scutus is not a slug (nudibranch) but a marine snail with a white shield-like shell on its back. The shell is usually covered by flaps of the mantle, but they sometimes withdraw slightly to expose part of the shell. It belongs to the family Fissurellidae which includes the Slit-Limpets and Keyhole Limpets so named because their limpet-shaped shells have either a slit or apical 'keyhole' to allow the discharge of exhalant water from the mantle cavity. Scutus has just a notched shell. The Australian species, Scutus antipodes, grows to over 12cm in length.

Not sure why it is called an Elephant Slug by some popular authors, perhaps because like most fissurellids it has a quite prominent snout. The other two common names refer to the shell. Like all marine snails, the eyes sit raised from the skin on the swollen base of each head tentacle.
Many fissurellids are sponge feeders, but the general consensus is that Scutus is an algal grazer.

Thanks to the Sea Slug Forum

Ventral veiw showing the mouth (elephant like)