Aphelodoris gigas
Wilson, 2003

Order: NUDIBRANCHIA
Suborder: DORIDINA
Superfamily: EUDORIDOIDEA
Family: Dorididae

DISTRIBUTION

At present known only from North Western Australia

PHOTO

Upper: Long Reef, Kimberley, Western Australia, preserved length 43 mm.WAM S24940. Photo: C. Bryce. Lower: Legendre Island, Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia,  12 m on sponge, Penares sp., 30 July 2000,  preserved length 53 mm, WAM S12652. Photo: N. Wilson.

The body is soft and fleshy with a broad mantle skirt. The mantle is brown with irregular white to cream patches around the edge and in the dorsal midline. In some specimens the whitish patches predominate, the brown pigmentation reduced to irregular patches. Wilson reports that there can be a large tubercle and a few smaller ones just in front of the gills. These tubercles can be tipped in orange. Like in A. karpa, the mantle is edged with a translucent band and there can be a wider submarginal band of orange. Similarly the rhinophore pockets and the gill pocket has a translucent edge and sometimes an orange submarginal band.
 
The five to seven tripinnate gills are brown and white, often tipped with cream or orange, but the gill colour is extremely variable between animals. The rhinophore club is dark brown with a white line up the anterior and posterior midlines. The foot is translucent white with a variable amount of brown patching, and the edge of the foot can have an orange border.
It is reported to be able to swim by a dorso-ventral flexion of the whole body. It grows to at least 12 cm in length. The main external features separating this species and A. karpa are that 'the mantle is heavily pustulose in A. karpa, less so in A. gigas' and in colour 'no white marking is A. karpa, white markings present in A. gigas'. Internally the ejaculatory duct and distal vaginal duct are long in A. gigas and short in A. karpa.
  • Wilson, N. G. (2003). Australian Aphelodoris (Mollusca: Nudibranchia): two new species, sperm ultrastructure and a redescription of Aphelodoris greeni Burn. In: F. E. Wells and D. I. Walker (eds), The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth. Volume 2: 563-587
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2006 (February 7) Aphelodoris gigas Wilson, 2003. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/aphegiga

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