Dondice occidentalis from Colombia

October 21, 1999
From: Phanor Montoya

Hi! how you doing?
I have seen the message from Anne. It was so helpful. Now I´m trying to get those books, I found them at the amazon books online store.

In September, a scuba diver found a nudibranch in the carribean coast of Santa Marta. It was found in a mud, sandy bottom with algae. It´s a small (2.5 cm) white nudibranch with lines of cerata in both sides of the body. The ceratas are red, almost brown. It has just one pair of rinophores on the head. We have the nudibranch in an small marine aquarium.

I have identified it as Dondice occidentalis. If you have or know where I can get information about it please let me know.

thanks again.


Montoya, P., 1999 (Oct 21) Dondice occidentalis from Colombia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Phanor,

Glad to hear you have found a nudibranch and have identified it. If you can send a photo or drawing I am sure someone will be able to confirm its identity for you.

The only references on Dondice occidentalis I know of are basically about its anatomy and taxonomy. Two fairly recent ones which will give you references to earlier works are:
•Eyster, L.S. (1980) Distribution and reproduction of shell-less opisthobranchs from South Carolina. Bulletin of Marine Science, 30(3): 580-599.
•Thompson, T.E. (1980) Jamaican opisthobranch molluscs: II. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 46(1): 74-99.

Your mention of Dondice reminds me of a very interesting aeolid from the Caribbean which would be quite exciting to study if you could find it. It was discovered about 10 years ago in Puerto Rico and apparently lives exclusively on the jellyfish Cassiopea. Cassiopea is the jellyfish which is often found in sheltered shallow waters. It lives upside down so that the sunlight can get to its tentacles which are full of symbiotic algae. It would be very interesting to see if the aeolid also had algal cells alive in it tissues. It might be possible to keep the jellyfish alive in an aquarium, with the aeolids living on it. It would certainly be worth looking for. Its name is Dondice parguerensis, and the reference is:
•Brandon, M., & Cutress, C.E. (1985) A new Dondice (Opisthobranchia: Favorinidae), predator of Cassiopea in southwest Puerto Rico. Bulletin of Marine Science,(1): 139-144.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

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