August 17, 2000
From: Dirk Hasberg
I found this species while diving off Townsville, Queensland, Australia [Flinders Reef, Coral Sea] earlier this year. I've tried to identify it but to no avail.
Thought it might be worth sending a photo in to you for identification. I'd never seen a nudibranch with markings perpendicular to the body before this one.
909918N@knotes.kodak.comHasberg, D., 2000 (Aug 17) Transverse lines on Nembrotha lineolata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2894
I must say it's the first time I have seen one like this also. With the proviso that I would need to look at its anatomy to be 100% sure, my feeling is that this is a very strange colour form of Nembrotha lineolata. If so, it must have faced west instead of north when the stripes were being applied!
While it is amazing how scientists can now delve into the makeup of the human genome, we are still a long way from really knowing how genes translate into things like colour patterns. If you look at the photo I have posted alongside of a fairly typical N. lineolata you will see I have added arrows alongside zones where there are transverse bands of extra longitudinal brown lines. It is possible that some short-circuit in the message from the genes during development, or some mutation in the genes themselves has made the transverse band dominant in your animal.
It is indeed fascinating. All other features of the colour pattern match typical N. lineolata, although the yellow at the base of the rhinophores and gills in your animal is rather faint.
If you have any other interesting photos, they would be very welcome on the Forum.
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