Nembrotha from Pemba, Tanzania

April 4, 2008
From: Andrew Sutton

Hello SSF

I was diving off Pemba Island, Tanzania in January 2007. I took the attached photographs of 2 species of Nembrotha. I see that Bernard Picton has one of these [message #6438]. I have attached a shot of this Nembrotha shortly after reproduction (in strong current I should add) - visible on the middle right of the shot,

The 2nd (pinkish red) Nembrotha (though I have a hunch its not), eludes me and this is one i would like to identify...

Locality: Fundu, Pemba, 25 metres, Tanzania, Indian (West), 31 12 2006, clear, oceanic, reef edge and sandy floor. Length: 8inches (aprox). Photographer: Andrew Sutton.

Many thanks for a great site/resource.

Kind regards
Drew Sutton

Sutton.A, 2008 (Apr 4) Nembrotha from Pemba, Tanzania. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Drew,
The green animal is what I was calling Nembrotha sp 14 on the Forum but have now tentatively identified as Nembrotha milleri. We have a number of records of this East African 'form' on the Forum but until the anatomy is looked at I will still have some doubts about its identity. When you mention 'after reproduction' do you mean that the large animal was mating with the very small one? We sometimes observe mating 'mismatches' like this. These hermaphrodite animals often mature quite early in their development, and often the male system matures some time before the female system. In cases like this it may be that the small animal can store its partner's sperm for some weeks until it female system matures.

The red animal is not a nembrothid. It is Hexabranchus sanguineus, a nudibranch commonly known as the Spanish Dancer because of its swimming display. However when it is crawling like this, its flashy colours are hidden by the folded over edge of the mantle skirt.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Apr 4). Comment on Nembrotha from Pemba, Tanzania by Andrew Sutton. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Nembrotha milleri

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