Another phyllidiid mimic from SE Sulawesi

February 22, 2000
From: Lindsay Warren

Dear Bill
You may remember my sending you a shot of a pink, black and white dorid which seemed to be imitating a Phyllidia and you identified as Discodoris? liturata.  Last season I found another imitator but this time a turquoise blue, black and white one (UPPER PHOTO) at 4.30 pm on 2 July 1999 at a depth of 5 m on a dead coral boulder with low growing green algae flanked by a pale green sponge massive.    Size: 23 mm.  Pulau Hoga, Tukang Besi Archipelago, SE Sulawesi, Indonesia. [Operation Wallacea].

It moved very slowly and the mantle had the same tough granular feel of a Phyllidia.  The overall colour is dark turquoise with a black band running submarginally around the mantle, a line between and behind the rhinophores and around the branchial plume.  Over the mantle are simple, white capped pustules - larger on the notum and smaller ones around the mantle margin. The foot is the same colour as the body.  The pale cream rhinophores dusted with dark turquoise are retractile lamellate with pustules on the rhinophore sheaths.  In this first specimen, the dark turquoise branchial plume featured 8 simple, single plumes. 

However a second specimen (LOWER PHOTO - size: 26 mm) found by Iain McKeith on 12 July at 16.10 pm at a depth of 16m on Pulau Tolandono had more complex branched plumes.  The only other difference in external appearance with this second specimen was that
there were white 'streaks' coming off the centre of the larger pustules. Photos: Lindsay Warren.

Have you seen this one before?
All the best
Lindsay Warren

Warren, L., 2000 (Feb 22) Another phyllidiid mimic from SE Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Lindsay,
Although similar to your Discodoris? liturata this species certainly has some differences in colour. Have a look at the phyllidiid mimicry page for a list of other phyllidiid mimics we now have in the Forum.

The white streaks you mention (photo inset) are dermal spicules found to varying degrees in quite a lot of the dorid nudibranchs.

Thanks for another interesting animal,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Feb 22). Comment on Another phyllidiid mimic from SE Sulawesi by Lindsay Warren. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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