Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus - type photo

November 5, 2002
From: Richard Willan

Dear Bill,
Here is a photograph of a Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus that you asked me for to
post on the Sea Slug Forum. This animal was one of the two that Michael Miller and I had when we described the species, and the one that we based our description of the external features and coloration on because it was alive and healthy when it was collected. Being part of the sample on which the species was named scientifically makes it a type specimen - a paratype in this case. This is a very unusual and distinctive Dermatobranchus species with the ragged extensions off the oral veil, the tentaculate foot corners, and the numerous longitudinal ridges on the mantle.

PHOTO: Whangarei Harbour, northern New Zealand, on a sand bank at extreme low
tide. 29 mm extended crawling length. 17 May 1980. Photo: Richard Willan.

The animal in Clinton Duffy's recent photograph is this same species. The colour of the body is actually burnt sienna rather than red. You mentioned that Clinton's animal seemed to lack opaque white pigment on the tops of the ridges as well as edges to the foot, oral veil and mantle. These opaque white areas, which are very obvious on the Whangarei animal, were probably also present on Clinton's animal but impossible to resolve in the photo because of the pale background on which it was was photographed.
Richard Willan

Willan, R.C., 2002 (Nov 5) Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus - type photo. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Richard,
I have included alongside, an enlargement of the 'head' to show the oral veil, and the tapering rhinophores, more clearly. They are both rather unusual features for a species of Dermatobranchus.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Nov 5). Comment on Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus - type photo by Richard Willan. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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