Re: Nembrotha chamberlaini from Indonesia

April 19, 1999
From: Pete Vogt

Hi Bill,

Thanks for checking the pics through. I have seen N. chamberlaini before. And although I would agree that the PATTERNING is similar, the actual colouring is strikingly different. Unfortunately the colour-balance of the pics I sent in to you is not spot on. The overall colour of the specimen was a two-tone black anthracite, so much so that we called it Nembrotha stealth. Appendages have similar colouring to N. chamberlaini. What do you think? I have heard a lot recently about the abundant polymorphism in nudis and the consequent difficulties for the taxonomer. What do have here? Intraspecies polymorphism, different colouring through variing diet, or even perhaps a subspeciation of chamb.-like N.? Thanks for your thoughts on this and thanks again for an energetic and vibrant forum!

Cheers Pete

PS: NZ was brilliant - although the water was cold I did some freediving and checked out the local nudis, of which there was a surprising variety.

Vogt, P., 1999 (Apr 19) Re: Nembrotha chamberlaini from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Peter,
My guess is that your animals are a darker colour form of N.chamberlaini. Perhaps Terry Gosliner or Dave Behrens can give us an idea of the variation they have observed. Actually digital imaging is quite good in finding 'invisible' colour patterns. I have found that by deliberately altering colour settings it is possible to find spots and lines on species of gymnodorids which appear uniform orange to the naked eye. A bit like art experts xraying old paintings for clues to their origins.

To return to Nembrotha and colour polymorphism etc. Quite a few species seem to have melanistic (black) colour forms. One example is Tambja morosa which is usually black but often a dull greenish colour in eastern Australia and New Zealand. I still think we have a way to go before we can clarify the color pattern limits of individual species in the genus .. and that is of course linked to finding other worthwhile characters to define species. One thing I am happy to do on the Forum is post colour variations of species so we can build up an awareness of these variations.

Glad you liked New Zealand,
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Apr 19). Comment on Re: Nembrotha chamberlaini from Indonesia by Pete Vogt. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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