Mystery from South Africa

August 25, 1999
From: Johan Bresler

I have found 2 Nudibranchs that looks like wandering oval bubble corals. They have a yellow base with white bubbles - like coral bubbles all over their bodies. They have a smaller spot on the middle of their backs that looks like marine rock. Any ideas on what species this may be?

These slugs have been found on the Sub-Tropical KwaZulu-Natal coast of South Africa in a Tidal Pool area. In the Aquarium they snuggle in under the sand every now and then. They also snuggle in under the sand together. The have antennae on the front end of their bodies. I detect no stress or deterioration in their condition at this stage.

Johan Bresler

Bresler, J., 1999 (Aug 25) Mystery from South Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Johan,
I'm afraid the 'grab' from your video doesn't give me much help, but I think from your description you have found a couple of Umbraculum umbraculum. Have a look at the photos at the top of the page. These are not nudibranchs, but they are Sea Slugs, belonging to a separate Order, the Notaspidea, sometimes called the Side-gilled Slugs.

If my identification is correct, the 'marine rock' on their backs is in fact their shell, which is often overgrown with other marine life. Let us know if I have guessed correctly.

In future I am happy to look at real photos, but I suspect for most slugs, video frame grabs won't give me enough information even for a guess.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Aug 25). Comment on Mystery from South Africa by Johan Bresler. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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