Photos of Chromodoris elegantula polychroma

May 30, 2005
From: Alberto Piras

Dear Bill,
To help your report on Chromodoris elegantula, here are some photos of mine of Chromodoris elegantula polychroma Perrone, 1993, from Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

Locality: Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (Divesite: La sella del diavolo). Depth, 3 m. Size: 3 cm. 09 July 1984. Photo: Alberto Piras.

Kind regards,
Alberto Piras

Piras, A., 2005 (May 30) Photos of Chromodoris elegantula polychroma. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Alberto,
Thanks for your help. Your photos, which I first saw on Erwin Koehler's web site, are a very useful addition to the discussion. Typical Chromodoris elegantula has rarely been reported since its original description. Sordi (1970) considered your colour form, in which the red spots are quite large and usually consist of a lighter red patch surrounded by a deep red border, to be a distinct subspecies which he named Chromodoris elegantula polychroma. Perrone (1993) reports on specimens of both forms or subspecies from Malta. One distinctive feature in both is that there are diffuse opaque white spots scattered over the mantle.

Little anatomical information is available on either form so unless we can get some more information on the anatomy and biology of these animals it won't ne possible to know whether we have one or two species. A photo of the egg ribbon (Sordi, 1970) of C. e. polychroma shows it has a few large eggs, suggesting it may be a direct developer. It would therefore be valuable to know whether the typical form has a similar type of egg ribbon. 

Your photos show a couple of anatomical points which are certainly useful. The gills are simple [unipinnate], and the mantle glands consist of a band of ramifying glands at the mantle edge running from about opposite the rhinophores on each side back around the posterior end of the mantle. There is no sign of them around the head end of the mantle. As the arrangement of the mantle glands is often species specific, it would be very interesting to know how these glands are arranged in the typical small spotted 'form'.

  • Perrone, A. S. (1993) Nudibranchi del genre Chromodoris Alder & Hancock, 1855 dall'Isola di Malta (Opisthobranchia: Nudibranchia). Bollettino Malacologico, 29: 65-80.
  • Sordi, M. (1970) Nuova ritrovamento di Glossodoris elegantula (Philippi, 1844) (Doris) (Gastropoda, Nudibranchiata). Atti della Unione Malacologica Italiana, 1: 19-29. 

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (May 30). Comment on Photos of Chromodoris elegantula polychroma by Alberto Piras. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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