Colpodaspis thompsoni
Brown, 1979

Family: Diaphanidae


Tropical Indo-West Pacific.


Kerama Is. near Okinawa, Japan. 5m depth. Length 2 to 3mm. PHOTO: Atsushi Ono.

Small, but brightly coloured, snail-like sea slug. The fragile bubble-shaped shell is completely enveloped by the mantle. On the right side of the mantle there is an elongate exhalent siphon. The head is produced into a pair of enrolled tentacles or rhinophores which lead to a deep lateral groove on each side. The eyes are embedded beneath the skin and can be seen as two black spots just in front of the shell. There is a large central mucus gland in the sole of the foot which probably produces a sticky mucus enabling the animal to stick on the algae on which it is found. It is black with large yellowish warts on white patches.
We know nothing of the biology or food of any species of Colpodaspis.

The placing of Colpodaspis with Diaphana and Newnesia in the Diaphanoidea, by most experts, is a marriage of convenience rather than a convincing statement of phylogenetic relationships. Further studies are required before we can say anything sensible about their relationship to each other and to other opisthobranchs.

• Brown, G.H. (1979) An investigation of the anatomy of Colpodaspis pusilla (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) and a description of a new species of Colpodaspis from Tanzanian coastal waters. Journal of Zoology, London, 187: 201-221.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2000 (February 3) Colpodaspis thompsoni Brown, 1979. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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