Philinopsis reticulata from Sulawesi

July 30, 2000
From: Lindsay Warren

Dear Bill
A further specimen of this unidentified Chelidonura was found by Dean Lea
on 30 July 1999 at a depth of 6 m on a reef running down the centre of a channel between Pulau Hoga and Pulau Kaledupa [Tukang Besi Archipelago, SE Sulawesi, Indonesia - Operation Wallacea].  Size: 8 mm. 

This is the same as sent to you before from a find in November 1998 which was a couple of mm smaller.  At the time you were not sure if this was a juvenile form of a known species or an undescribed one.  Photo:  Lindsay Warren.

Do you know if we might be closer to an ID yet?

All the best

Warren, L., 2000 (Jul 30) Philinopsis reticulata from Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Lindsay,
This is almost certainly Philinopsis reticulata (Eliot 1903).

The reticulate pattern is characteristic, as are the blue markings on the inside edge of the anterior part of the parapodia. Eliot mentions the blue in his description, and I have found such marks on specimens I have found in East Africa, where Eliot's material came from.

Probably the most important confirmation is the shape of the head. The high median ridge, clearly seen in your photo and in Eliot's painting are an indication that this species is one of the group of Philinopsis with a very long narrow pharynx, as discussed under Philinopsis gardineri.

Eliot describes this as "pharynx of moderate size, 1.5 mm wide" which means little until it is compared with his description of the foregut of a similarly sized specimen of Philinopsis cyanea - "pharynx is colossal ... breadth 15mm" which describes the large buccal bulb, typical of most members of the genus. The illustration to the right is from Eliot, 1903, Pl. 13, fig. 1.

Have a look at the page I have prepared on this species which shows the considerable colour variation found in the species.

The earlier specimen you ask about, is not this species and as a suggested before is almost certainly a species of Chelidonura, not Philinopsis.

Reference: Eliot, C,N.E. (1903) Notes on some new or little known members of the family Doridiidae. Proceedings of the Malacological Society, London, 5(5): 331-337.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jul 30). Comment on Philinopsis reticulata from Sulawesi by Lindsay Warren. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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