Chelidonura punctata from Thailand

January 17, 2001
From: Erwin Koehler

Hi Bill,
Here are the first photos from my recent trip to Thailand. On a coral of about 1m diameter were 6 individuals, size 23mm to 43mm. ek118518 shows 2 of them (23mm + 42mm) crawling out of some kind of jelly, I guess my flashlights disturbed them. ek118525 shows them crawling away "trailing" just like the genus Risbecia. The animal in the upper photo was 33mm long.

Depth 13m, Thailand, Phuket Island, divesite "Shark Point II", Dec. 17, 2000.

When I returned 2 weeks later to the same coral no individual was there.

Koehler, E., 2001 (Jan 17) Chelidonura punctata from Thailand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Erwin,
Thanks for this interesting information. Firstly with your earlier record from the Maldives, your finds are bringing Chelidonura punctata right across to the eastern side of the Indian Ocean.

'Trailing' in aglajids is quite a common phenomenon and often ends in mating. In aglajids the penis is on the right side of the head and the female genital opening is at the posterior end of the body. These animals therefore often mate 'head to tail' with the anterior one acting as female and the posterior one as male. Sometmes in the field, and often in captivity, aglajids will form mating chains of 5-10 animals with the most anterior one acting as female, the most posterior as male, and the ones in the middle acting as both male and female.

The jelly mass you describe them crawling out of is apparently a protective coat of mucus they often produce when they are resting or when they are disturbed. When crawling, aglajids secrete a coat of mucus which can cover their whole body, so they are really crawling along in a tube of mucus. When still this coat can increase to form a temporary 'nest'.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Jan 17). Comment on Chelidonura punctata from Thailand by Erwin Koehler. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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