Real Chromodoris tennentana from Sth Africa

November 13, 1999
From: Valda Fraser

Dear Bill
Thank you for your input. However, I now know that the image I sent you is
definitely not Chromodoris tennentana. I have come to this conclusion with reference to your illustration. Chromodoris tennentana also occurs in our area. The difference between the two specimens is quite apparent. Firstly, the colouration is different. C. tennentana has deep blue spots clearly outlined with white, all over its body. Chromodoris sp? has only a few spots. In addition, C. tennentana has a body structure with a flat profile. I include an image of C. tennentana. As you can see, it seems to stick to the reef like a worm. Chromodoris sp? has a raised body and moves in a different way.

Locality: South Coast KwaZulu/Natal - SOUTH AFRICA. Near Port Shepstone, 20 - 25m, October 1999. Size: 35mm

What else could it be?
Valda Fraser

Fraser, V., 1999 (Nov 13) Real Chromodoris tennentana from Sth Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Note added 4 May 2007: As can be seen by the discussions and many messages on C. cavae, I was quite wrong to identify this animal as that species. It is, as Valda suggested, a form of C. tennentana [see message #19875] - Bill Rudman.

Dear Valda,

I knew your original photo reminded me of something so I went back to my East African notes and found the answer. Your animal is almost certainly Eliot's Chromodoris cavae which has never been recorded again since it was described from Zanzibar in 1904. When I reviewed these animals (Rudman, 1987) I decided that C. cavae was probably just a bad color painting of C. tennentana. But on comparing the painting with your photo, I'm fairly convinced they are different.

This is quite an exciting find, and means we can take C. cavae off the 'never seen again' list. Eventually its anatomy will need to be looked at but I think you can confidently start calling it C. cavae.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Nov 13). Comment on Real Chromodoris tennentana from Sth Africa by Valda Fraser. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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