Atagema carinata from Fiordland, NZ

May 30, 2005
From: Ian Skipworth

Hi Bill,
We saw two or three of these nudis, all in shallow (6 m) water. I don't recall them from previous Fiordland trips but guess they're not uncommon. They seem have a distinctive ridge on their back and an unusual skin texture. Water temp was 13 to 14 deg.c.

Locality: Dusky Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. Depth: 6 m. Length: 40 mm. 10 May 2005. Rocky reef. Photographer: Ian Skipworth.

Your comments would be much appreciated.


Ian Skipworth, 2005 (May 30) Atagema carinata from Fiordland, NZ. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Ian,
This is a very nice find. It is Atagema carinata (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832). It was first found in the Firth of Thames in nthn New Zealand during the great French scientific expedition of the Astrolabe in the 1820s, and has seldom been recorded since. The only records I can find of this species are the original one from northern New Zealand (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832),  and a number from southern N. Z. (Dusky Sound, Fiordland - Suter, 1912;  Stewart Island - Willan & Coleman, 1984; Dunedin - Miller, 2005 [message #13863].  

Atagema carinata  is a pure white dorid, characterised by the caryophyllidia, which give it the furry skin texture you mention, the high sheaths bordering the rhinophore pockets, the tri-lobed gill pocket, and the spectacular fin-like crest in the dorsal midline. Not all specimens seem to have such a spectacular development of the dorsal crest as your animals. This is a very interesting find. Have a look at the other messages I have posted today on this species and the Fact Sheet.

  • Quoy, J. R. and Gaimard, J. P. (1832) Voyages de découvertes de l`Astrolabe pendant les années 1826-1829 sous le commandement de M.J. Dumont d`Urville. Zoologie 2: 1-686.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (May 30). Comment on Atagema carinata from Fiordland, NZ by Ian Skipworth. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Atagema carinata