Cadlinella subornatissima from Kwajalein Atoll

November 7, 2008
From: Scott Johnson

Concerning message #18824:

Hi Bill,

I couldn't help adding to your backlog with these shots of what sure appears to be Cadlinella subornatissima. I ran across this specimen here at Kwajalein a few days ago on a reef that also supports a fair number of Cadlinella ornatissima. I'm afraid I don't have a copy of Baba's original description, but if this is indeed his C. subornatissima, the Marshall Islands are quite an extension of the range from Japan and Korea. Finding this in a habitat that also contains C. ornatissima makes me wonder if I might have been too hasty in assuming the oddly colored single Cadlinella specimen I found some years ago in Bikini Atoll [message #3438] was a color form of C. ornatissima.

Locality: Kwajalein Atoll, 6m, Marshall Islands, Pacific, 26 October 2008, Under dead coral rock. Length: 10mm. Photographer: Jeanette and Scott Johnson.


Johnson, S., 2008 (Nov 7) Cadlinella subornatissima from Kwajalein Atoll. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Scott,

Thanks for the record. Yes this certainly fits Baba's description of the species. He specifically described the way the yellow background colour on the mantle was restricted to a broad median band. Another feature is that in most cases the yellow pigmentation does not run up to the base of the mantle papillae, leaving a broad translucent patch around each papilla. Baba also suggested that the arrangement of the mantle glands in this species differed from the arrangement I had earlier reported for C. ornatissima. He suggested that in C. subornatissima the mantle glands were restricted to scattered small single glands near the mantle edge. In C. ornatissima there are an outer band of these small single glands, then an inner row of larger glands, consisting of clusters of small glands, and then inside that row a few large multiple glands. Looking at your photos, where the glands appear as bright opaque white spots, I can see all three gland types. This either means the gland arrangement is a generic character or perhaps that the various species of Cadlinella are variants of one species.

I tend to agree with your suggestion that the animal from Bikini Atoll in your earlier mesage could be this species. One other point of interest is in your middle photo. Is the greyish 'gunge' in all the hollows in the rock a sponge? It looks to be as though it could be Halisarca. I note that you list Halisarca metabola as one of the food items of Cadlinella ornatissima [see Johnson & Boucher, 1983]. It would be interesting to also link C. subornatissima to the same sponge - although from your photo alone it wouldn't be a very strong association.

  • Johnson, S & Boucher, L.M. (1983)  Notes on some Opisthobranchia (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the Marshall Islands, including 57 new records. Pacific Science, 37(3), 251-291.
  • Rudman, W. B. (1984a) The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: a review of the genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 81, 115-273

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Nov 7). Comment on Cadlinella subornatissima from Kwajalein Atoll by Scott Johnson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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