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Dendrodorididae Family

Family Dendrodorididae

The dendrodorids are large and moderately to extremely elongate, soft-bodied dorids. The mantle has a broad skirt and is usually smooth but its surface can be pustulose or tuberculate. The leading edge of the foot is split transversely with the upper portion forming a cavity into which the mouth opens and the oral tentacles are distinctive in being small and fused together. The lamellate rhinophores end in a distinct club, and they can be contracted into separate pockets. The complex (usually tripinnate) gills form a circle around the anus towards the posterior end of the dorsum (sometimes extremely so) and they can retract completely into a pocket beneath the mantle. A major characteristic of this family is the loss of radula and jaws and possession of a long, extensible suctorial tube in lieu of the buccal mass. Their prey sponge prey is digested externally by secreted enzymes and the resulting fluids are sucked into the stomach.