Nembrotha livingstonei from South Africa

March 19, 2008
From: Colin Ogden

Note added 20 March 2008: Have moved to Nembrotha spp page - see message #21461.

Hi Bill,
I notice you don't have a report on the forum for a Nembrotha livingstonei from South Africa, though Gosliner does have it in his book. Here is a picture of one I found yesterday, and also a pic of a juvenile I found 2 years ago. It was only about 3 mm in size so the quality is not so good. The structure it was sitting on I believe was its food source (as a juvenile), because I found another on on the same structure a couple of months later. Would a nudibranch change its food source during its development?

Locality: Sodwana Bay, 14 metres, South Africa, Indian, 11 November 2007, reef. Length: 35 mm. Photographer: Colin Ogden.


Ogden C. M., 2008 (Mar 19) Nembrotha livingstonei from South Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Colin,

I think this is probably N. livingstonei although I woud normally expect to see a  white cross between the rhinophores, or some traces of one. Perhaps in the western Indian Ocean that part of the colour pattern is lost. I think we still have a bit to do in sorting out the red-spotted species so keep your eyes out for other variations.

Concerning species changing food as they develop. Once a species settles from the plankton they begin feeding on their adult food. In many cases it is chemicals from the adult food which trigger the settlement behaviour in the swimming planktonic larvae. Obviously in species where the adults eat whole polyps, the juveniles can't do the same, but they seem to eat other parts of the colony, rather than a different food. In species of Nembrotha we would expect them to eat one or more ascidians.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Mar 19). Comment on Nembrotha livingstonei from South Africa by Colin Ogden. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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