Bornella stellifer
(Adams & Reeve, 1848)

Family: Bornellidae


Indo-West Pacific.


Rocher a la Voile, Anse Vata, Nouméa, New Caledonia, October 1988, intertidal, 25mm long. LOWER photos showing (LEFT) gills on inside base of each ceras and (RIGHT) showing head with rhinophore on a long stalk which bears a ring of long pointed papillae, and oral tentacles elaborated into a pair of star-like or palmate sensory organs. PHOTOS: Bill Rudman.

This common Indo-West Pacific species has a complicated nomenclatural history which is summarised in Bertsch (1980) and Rudman (1984). Both the names Bornella stellifer and Bornella digitata, which is what it was previously known as, refer to the starlike (stellifer) or finger-like (digitata) nature of the oral tentacles. Although this species clearly belongs to the Dendronotina it has many similarities in shape and natural history to the aeolids. It has a series of cerata-like structures on each side of its elongate body and it feeds on hydroids. Its 'cerata' however lack cnidosacs and they have a cluster of basal gills.

• Bertsch, H. (1980) A new species of Bornella from tropical West-America. Spixiana, 3(1): 33-42.
• Rudman, W. B. (1984) The date and authorship of Bornella and Ceratosoma (Nudibranchia) and other molluscs collected during the voyage of H.M.S. Samarang, 1843-46. Malacological Review, 17: 103-104.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (November 6) Bornella stellifer (Adams & Reeve, 1848). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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