Chromodoris tumulifera from Sulawesi

June 3, 2001
From: Lindsay Warren

Dear Bill
One of the specimens found by Dean Lea in July 1999 at a depth of 5ft in a muddy channel with a fast moving current is this Dorid (OWN149 OS00564) which we could not identify on site in the Tukang Besi, SE Sulawesi Operation Wallacea. In reading through literature since then, and more recently, I think it is closest to Chromodoris tumulifera (Collingwood 1881) although at one point I thought it could be Chromodoris kitae (Gosliner 1994). The external features and colouration should be quite clear from the attached jpeg with the addition of the following: opaque off white foot. The purple spots on the notum are raised (one just in front of the rhinophores, three down either side with the last on the right side partly obscured by the branchial plume). The rhinophores are retractile, lamellate with white tip, white base and pale beige lamellae. The branchial plume consists of five segments, all pale beige with a bright white line along the outer edge and decreasing in length towards the rear and lying inclined to the rear rather than upright.

Which of these possible identifications, if either, would you think could be right?
Many thanks and all the best as ever

Warren, L., 2001 (Jun 3) Chromodoris tumulifera from Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Lindsay,
I think this is a colour form of C. tumulifera. As I discuss at the top of the page I originally considered C. tumulifera and C. bimaensis to be distinct species but having seen specimens from throughout the Indo-West Pacific I am now sure they are the same. I have seenthis colour form in Hong Kong and New Caledonia and will try an post some photos showing the variation in the near future.

Gosliner (1994) considered C.kitae, from northern Madagascar to be distinct, mainly because the orange submarginal line was interrupted by both white and red-purple spots, while in C. tumulifera it is only interrupted by purple spots. I suspect the differences fall within the range of variation of C. tumulifera.

• Gosliner, T.M. (1994) New species of Chromodoris and Noumea (Nudibranchia: Chromodorididae) from the western Indian Ocean and southern Africa. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 48(12): 239-252. (8 figs)

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Jun 3). Comment on Chromodoris tumulifera from Sulawesi by Lindsay Warren . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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