Eggs of Goniodoris meracula

April 8, 1998
From: Kirsten Benkendorff

Hi Bill,
I found the eggs of this Goniodoris sp. under a boulder embedded in an ascidian. If anyone has seen anything like this before could you please let me know. I am interested in the chemical defense mechanisms of molluscan egg masses and it is possible that this nudibranch is making the most of the unpalatability of its host ascidian. I would also be interested to hear about eggs on sponges or anything else which is likely to contain toxic chemicals.
Thanks a lot,
Kirsten Benkendorff
PS note my new email address

Benkendorff, K., 1998 (Apr 8) Eggs of Goniodoris meracula. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

This species of Goniodoris is usually found nestled into "craters" it has eaten away in the compound ascidian colonies it calls home. In the lower photo above you can see an animal with its large foot folded up on each side of the body and only the gills are clearly visible. As they eat more of the ascidian away they form a hidden chamber in which they lay their eggs. I do not know whether they use chemicals from the ascidians to protect then from predators. It may be that once they have formed the protective "crater" or "cavern" in which they live they are effectively hidden from potential predators...Bill.

Rudman, W.B., 1998 (Apr 8). Comment on Eggs of Goniodoris meracula by Kirsten Benkendorff. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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