Noumea varians
(Pease, 1871)

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Chromodorididae


Tropical western Pacific and Indonesia.


UPPER: Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, 12mm long alive, may, 1981. PHOTO: John Hicks.
LOWER: Broadhurst Reef, Townsville, Queensland, October 1975, 9mm long preserved. PHOTO: Ian Loch.

The mantle of Noumea varians is translucent with the pink or orange of the underlying viscera showing through. Often their is a tinge of purple in the mantle colouration. Around the edge is a broad creamy-orange band, and on its inside edge is a thin reddish purple line which anteriorly and posteriorly breaks into a series of red-purple patches. Down the dorsal midline is traces of a broken white line. The rhinophore club is translucent orange with an opaque white core. The gills are translucent clear with a tinge of orange in the upper half.

Noumea norba and Noumea varians are quite similar in colour however their internal anatomy is quite different. One way of distinguishing living animals is that N. norba is quite like a species of Chromodoris in shape with a relatively wide flattened body and broad mantle skirt while N. varians is more like a Hypselodoris with a relatively high body and narrow mantle skirt.

See the Noumea purpurea Colour Group Page to compare this species with others of similar colour.

•Rudman,WB (1986): The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: Noumea purpurea and Chromodoris decora colour groups. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 86(4): 309-353.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (November 5) Noumea varians (Pease, 1871). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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