Cerberilla africana
Eliot, 1903

Family: Aeolidiidae


Known from Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and northeastern South Africa.


Locality: Fungu Yasin Is., off Kunduchi Bch, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 20 July 1973. Photo: Bill Rudman.

Typical species of Cerberilla with a very wide foot, at least twice the width of the body. The cerata are arranged in crowded rows, the cerata greatly increasing in length toward the posterior end of the body. The oral tentacles are long and tentacular and the smooth rhinophores are extremely short.

The colour is known from only two specimens, one described by Eliot (1903) from Zanzibar, and the animal photographed here from nearby Dar es Salaam. The body is translucent white with a brownish dusting over the head and up the oral tentacles where it merges into a blue band and a translucent white tip. The rhinophores are translucent white with a blue band, and on the outside of each rhinophore, there is a brown ring on the head surrounding a large white patch. The ceratal colour changes depending on the size and position of each ceras but the following succession of colour bands up the cerata is fairly uniform, except the width of each band can chnage. The basal band ranges from whitish grey to green or dark brown, and above this is a thin band of dark brown or black. Above this is a thin white band which can be bright yellow or brownish orange in the longer cerata. Above this the cerata are blue, the colour varying from a pale greyish blue to a bright blue.

The photos from South Africa [message #20692] are almost certainly this species. Another species from the western Pacific, C. affinis, is possibly the same species, but we know too little about colour variability at present to be sure.

  • Eliot, C.N.E (1903)  On some nudibranchs from East Africa and Zanzibar, Part II. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1:  250-257.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2007 (September 11) Cerberilla africana Eliot, 1903. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/cerbafri

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