Nembrotha kubaryana
Bergh, 1877

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Nembrothinae


Tropical Indo-West Pacific


Upper right: Striped form feeding on ascidians [Sigillina signifera ] Apos Is, Negros Is, Philippines, 30m. March 1983. Photo: B. E. Picton. Lower left:  red-spotted form, Kendrew Is, Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Photo: Clay Bryce. Lower right: green-spotted form, North East Orpheus Is, North Queensland, April 1985. Photo: Bill Rudman.

This relatively large species, sometimes growing more than 120 mm long, shows a considerable range in colour. Essentially black with green pustules, or green longitudinal ridges, there is a bright orange border to the foot and the rhinophore pockets and also around the oral lappets. In some specimens the rhinophores and gills have orange markings but in others, these are green. In some animals the green markings can be replaced by pinkish orange spots or elongate marks.

This species feeds on ascidians. A similarly coloured species, Nembrotha cristata lacks the orange border to the foot.

Some years ago Prof. Valerie Paul and associates (1990) reported on this species and Nembrotha cristata feeding on the ascidian Atapozoa sp. Both species removed antifeedant compounds from the ascidian and stored them in their own bodies, exudung them in a slimy mucus when disturbed for their own defence. [N. kubarayna has also been reported feeding on another dark blue ascidian which has been identified as Sigillina signifera. Perhaps Atapozoa is another name for Sigillina. I need to find an ascidian expert.]

Recently (Pola et al, 2008) have proposed that N. nigerrima and N. kubaryana, which were proposed simultaneously by Bergh (1877), should be synonymised under the name N. nigerrima, but as I discuss [message #21407] and Pola et al accept [message #21417 ], Yonow & Hayward (1991) have already chosen N. kubaryana as the senior synonym so that is the valid name under the International Code..

  • Bergh, L.S.R. (1877). Malacologische Untersuchengen. In C.G. Semper, Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen, Wissenscaftliche Resultate, 11: 429-494, pls 54-57
  • O'Donoghue, C. H. (1924) Report on Opisthobranchiata from the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, with description of a new parasitic copepod. Journal of the Linnean Society, London 35: 521-579, Pls.27-30.
  • Paul, V.J., Lindquist, N., Fe n i c a l, W. (1990) Chemical defenses of the tropical ascidian Atapozoa sp. and its nudibranch predators Nembrotha spp. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 59: 109-118
  • Pola, M., Cervera, J.L. and Gosliner, T.M. 2008. Revision of the Indo-Pacific genus Nembrotha (Nudibranchia: Dorididae: Polyceridae), with description of two new species. Scientia Marina 72(1): 145-183.
  • Yonow, N. & Hayward, P.J. (1991) Opisthobranches de l'Ile Maurice, avec la description de deux especes nouvelles (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Revue francaise d'aquariologie, 18(1): 1-30, Figs 1-13.

Note added 2 March 2008: This is an updated and expanded version of the original Fact Sheet.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2008 (March 2) Nembrotha kubaryana Bergh, 1877. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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