Tambja blacki
Pola, Cervera & Gosliner, 2006

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Nembrothinae


Known at present from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and Papua New Guinea.


Upper photo: Heron Island - No details available. Lower photos: Heron Is,Qld 25 May 1981 13m AM C128160 Photos: Bill Rudman

This species has a yellow-green or green background colouration with a symmetrical pattern of black patches. There are also a series of brownish longitudinal bands, edged in yellow or orange. On the dorsum, there is a median brown band running from between the rhinophores to the gills, and another around the edge of the mantle. There is a similar band running along each side of the body and another running along the edge of the foot.

The brown bands running along each side of the dorsum join in the posterior midline, behind the gills, on a raised rounded crest. The oral tentacles are large and flattened dorso-ventrally, and there are three large branched tripinnate gills. The reproductive system of this species is quite unusual with some features more typical of species of Nembrotha than of Tambja (i.e. vaginal gland absent, prostate spread over the bursa copulatrix and wide and elongate vagina). The animal grows to at least 130 mm in length.

Tambja blacki differs from the other species of Tambja in its large size, coloration and prominent crest behind the gill. A recently described
species from Brazil, Tambja stegosauriformis, also has prominent crests behind the gill, but its shape, colour, and geographical distribution are very different. T. blacki is reported to feed on the bryozoan Amastina rudi (Willan & Coleman, 1984;  Marshall & Willan, 1999). It swims readily by strong side-to-side flexions when irritated (Willan & Coleman, 1984; Marshall & Willan, 1999).

  • Marshall, J. G. and Willan, R. C. (1999) Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef. A survey of the Opisthobranchia (Sea Slugs) of Heron and Wistari Reefs. Leiden, Backhuys Publishers.  1-257.
  • Pola, M., Cervera, J. L., and Gosliner, T. M. (2006) Description of two new phanerobranch nembrothid species (Nudibranchia: Polyceridae: Doridacea). Journal of the marine biological Association, U.K. 86: 403-409.
  • Willan, R.C. & Coleman, N. (1984): Nudibranchs of Australasia. Australasian Marine Photographic Index, Sydney.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2006 (July 15) Tambja blacki Pola, Cervera & Gosliner, 2006. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/tambblac

Related messages

  1. Two new species of Tambja
    From: Bill Rudman, July 17, 2006

Show factsheet and all related messages