Chromodoris aspersa from Reunion Island

June 8, 2007
From: Hugues Flodrops

Concerning message #9513:

Dear Bill,
Here is a record from Reunion Is  of what I believe is Chromodoris aspersa. It was found at night. There is on the left of the photo a kind of worm?

Locality: Etang-Salé, 1 metre, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, 16 april 2007, Night. Length: 20 mm. Photographer: Hugues Flodrops.

Best regards,
Hugues Flodrops.

Flodrops, H., 2007 (Jun 8) Chromodoris aspersa from Reunion Island. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Hugues,
Yes this is C. aspersa. The purple spots, each surrounded by a zone of translucent purple, is a unique character of this species.

I am not an expect on polychaete worms but I am pretty sure this is the 'heteronereid' stage of a nereid worm. At breeding time many nereid worms change shape or grow new sections of their body with enlarged parapodia and setae, enlarged eyes, luminescent bodies, and are packed full of ripe eggs or sperm. At night they swarm to the surface to release all their gametes into the water. Some species are very synchronised, millions of individuals swarming at the same time to turn the water milky with the gametes. The sexual stage is known as a heteronereid because when the first one was found its true nature was not known and it was named as a new species in a new genus Heteronereis.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Jun 8). Comment on Chromodoris aspersa from Reunion Island by Hugues Flodrops. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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