Phyllidiopsis shireenae from the Marshall Islands

July 14, 2000
From: Scott Johnson

Hi Bill,

I should stop being surprised. I can dive an area for years and years, and still new things pop up. Recently it was Phyllidiopsis shireenae, found by Karen DeGroff on the leeward seaward slope of Kwajalein Atoll at a depth of 35 meters (photo e435-2). I believe this is a considerable range extension. The specimen was a bit moribund by the time I took this photo. At 95mm in length, the Marshall Islands animal is larger than several specimens I saw in the Solomons a few years ago. The other photo (s038-5) is a shot of an individual from Guadalcanal, Solomon Ids.


Johnson, S., 2000 (Jul 14) Phyllidiopsis shireenae from the Marshall Islands. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Scott,
I thought this species was known only from the southwest Pacific but as I was posting your message I note that Brunckhorst has a record from Taiwan, and Erwin Koehler recently sent a photo to the Forum from the Maldives. The Marshall Ids record really takes P. shireenae out into the Pacific, so it is clearly a widespread Indo-West Pacific species.

About new things popping up all the time. I remember in Tanzania being quite disappointed when something new didn't pop up every two weeks or so. I guess there are many opportunistic species which only grow to visible size at a particular place if larvae happen to coincide with the presence of their food, which is probably as equally unpredictable.

Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jul 14). Comment on Phyllidiopsis shireenae from the Marshall Islands by Scott Johnson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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