Aeolid from Victoria, Australia

February 6, 2001
From: John Chuk

Dear Bill,

I'm sending pictures of a nudibranch I photographed at Flinders Pier, Victoria, Australia on 7/10/96.

I found about ten specimens under a piece of timber on the bottom beneath the pier at 4m depth. They ranged between 3 & 5cm in length. There were masses of egg cord present. These were cylindrical in cross section with a tendency to be laid in a sausage-like pattern. Some of these cords were spirally laid (as one of the photo's shows) but many were laid in an irregular mass. It appeared to be a mass spawning event.

When I placed a specimen on the sand bottom to take a photo it promptly buried itself in the sand! I am unable to identify the species and any help would be most appreciated!
John Chuk


Chuk, J., 2001 (Feb 6) Aeolid from Victoria, Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear John,
This is another interesting find. It is Aeolidiella faustina. First described from Cook Strait, New Zealand (Bergh, 1900) and then from northern Tasmania, Australia (Bergh, 1904) it was not reported again until Burn (1962) recorded it from Victoria as "very common under stones at or near low tide level". It has subsequently been reported as rare in the North Island of New Zealand (Powell, 1979). I have not seen a published photo of the living animal. It does not seem to get as far north as New South Wales.

Your observation of it burrowing in the sand is interesting, as in body shape it is certainly very similar to species of Cerberilla which is a related genus in which all the species are adapted to burrowing in sand. Thanks also for the photo of the egg ribbon.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Feb 6). Comment on Aeolid from Victoria, Australia by John Chuk. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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