Dendrodoris nigra? from New Zealand

October 27, 2009
From: Graham Bould

Photo of what I think is Dendrodoris nigra attached. This species is fairly common on the Whangaparaoa coast, both under rocks & out in the open in rock pools. However there don't seem to be any colour variation - they are all the same dark brown to black.

Locality: Rocks, Low tide level, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, east coast, northern New Zealand, Pacific, 22 July 2009, In rock pools near low tide. Length: 30 mm. Photographer: Graham Bould.

Graham Bould

Bould, G., 2009 (Oct 27) Dendrodoris nigra? from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Graham,

From my memories of collecting in New Zealand, Dendrodoris nigra is usually this colour there, although there can be a more distinct red border to the mantle. Although D. nigra is the only 'black' species reported from New Zealand, I wouldn't be surprised if the very similarly coloured D. fumata is also present at times. As I discuss on the species' Fact Sheets, one very obvious difference is the shape of the gills - in D. nigra there are many short gills arranged in a goblet-shaped ring around the anus, while in D. fumata there are about 5 large feathery gills which extend out almost to the mantle edge. Their egg masses are also quite different.

In a separate message [#22722 ] I am posting a good photo from New Zealand showing the typical gill shape of D. nigra.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Oct 27). Comment on Dendrodoris nigra? from New Zealand by Graham Bould. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Dendrodoris nigra

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