Dolabella gigas? from Mayotte

January 22, 2004
From: Marina Poddubetskaia & Isabelle Ruffin

Dear Bill,
Here is a large Sea-Hare from Mayotte. This specimen was photographed by Isabelle Ruffin in Mayotte, during a night dive.
Could you help us to identify it, please. We assume it is a Dolabella or Dolabrifera species, but we can't recognise it.

December 11, 2003
Kongou, Mayotte Island, Indian Ocean
Site: Recif de Peitro
Depth: 6m
Size: about 20cm
Photos: Isabelle Ruffin -

Best wishes,
Marina and Isabelle.

Poddubetskaia, M. & Ruffin, I., 2004 (Jan 22) Dolabella gigas? from Mayotte. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Marina and Isabelle,
I suspect this is Dolabella gigas. I am afraid we only know this species for ceratin from its shell. It has been suggested that it has flattened warts on its body rather than elongate papillae but the information is contradictory. The only way to be certain will be to find an animal with a shell like I have photographed on the Fact Sheet. As the shell is internal this will of course mean phpotographing and making notes on the external anatomy of 'likely' living animals and then killing them and dissecting out the shell. I guess the problems involved are why this species has never been properly charcterised.
Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Jan 22). Comment on Dolabella gigas? from Mayotte by Marina Poddubetskaia & Isabelle Ruffin . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Dolabella gigas

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