Trapania darvelli? from East Timor

March 17, 2008
From: Brian Francisco

Concerning message #21435:

Hi Bill

Good timing for the Trapania postings. We just encountered a Trapania darvelli last week nibbling (possibly) on an orange sponge.

Locality: Tasi Tolu, 18 meters, East Timor, Banda Sea, 9 March 2008, sandy slope. Length: 10 mm. Photographer: Brian Francisco.

Glad to have you back.

UnderWater East Timor

Francisco, B., 2008 (Mar 17) Trapania darvelli? from East Timor. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Brian,

You may be right in identfiying these animals as T. darvellie but I have been keeping them separate as Trapania sp. 9 because of the orange rather than brown colouration, because the lateral processes are usually held out rather horizontally and because the cloured tips of the processes seem to be 'knobbly' perhaps glandular [see discussion in message #16182.] Your seem to be almost an intermediate.

Concerning their food. If you do a search for entoproct or Kamptozoa on the Forum you will find a whole list of messages reporting, or showing that entoprocts are the preferred food of species of Trapania. Species of Trapania are often found on sponges and we used to think they fed on sponges - although nothing in their radular tooth structure or the food of their close relations would would suggest sponges were a likely food. Have a look at the Fact Sheet for Kamptozoa [= ectoproct] for some background information. Some species are usually found living on sponges - hence the confusion.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Mar 17). Comment on Trapania darvelli? from East Timor by Brian Francisco. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Trapania sp. 9

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