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The body of M. leonina is translucent and is usually colorless to pale yellow or green. The average body dimensions are 102mm long and 25mm wide. It has a large expandable oral hood, fringed with two rows of cirri. The oral hood is typically over 51mm wide. This species of Melibe lacks jaws or a radula. There are a single pair of rhinophores on the hood that contain four to six lamellae. Two rows containing three to six pairs of flat, paddle-shaped cerata run along the body. The cerata range in size, with the front most cerata being the largest. Cerata are capable of autotomy. The anus and nephroproct are positioned before the second ceras. All other members of the genus Melibe contain chitinous plates in the stomach, however, they are absent in M. leonina.
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