Chromodoris albopustulosa from Hawaii

March 7, 2005
From: Scott Johnson

Hi Bill,
While looking up information to include in my recent messages on Marshall Islands Chromodoris alius, I noticed that a relatively common similar species from Hawaii has not yet made it onto the Forum. Attached are some photos of Chromodoris albopustulosa. Its appearance suggests it is very closely related to C. rufomaculata and C. alius. Neither of these latter two occur in Hawaii, but all three are found in the Marshall Islands (if my IDs are correct). Typical C. albopustulosa differ from those other two species in the presence of white pustulose spots over the dorsum, but these spots do vary and in some specimens are much less distinct. Between the white pustules are orange spots similar to but less distinct than the spots on C. rufomaculata. The rhinophores and gills of particularly C. albopustulosa and C. rufomaculata appear identical; the gills in particular are unusual in that they curl to form quite a round ball shape when extended.

I have found C. albopustulosa at various sites around the islands of Oahu and Hawaii. During the late 1970s, the best site was a dredged channel leading into Honolulu's Ala Wai Yacht Harbor along the edge of a man-made peninsula called Magic Island. Streams from an Oahu valley flow into the Ala Wai canal, which drains to the ocean through this channel. Although not the cleanest looking place to make a dive, the channel walls at the time were richly coated with sponges and other sessile filter feeders, and provided an excellent habitat for quite a few different species of nudis. I haven't been back in quite a few years, but those who have tell me the situation is quite different now. I have also found C. albopustulosa at Kure Atoll at the end of the Hawaiian chain and at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Locality: Oahu Island, Hawaii, USA, Pacific. Depth: 2-10 m. Length: 25 mm (o01), 15mm (o08). 1978. Exposed on reef wall. Photographer: Scott Johnson


Johnson, S., 2005 (Mar 7) Chromodoris albopustulosa from Hawaii. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Scott,
Thanks for this and the other messages you have recently sent on these purple and white spotted chromodorids from Hawaii. I agree that your photos suggest a continuum between C. albopustulosa and C. rufomaculata, and your comment [message #13190] suggests they are the same species. Looking at your photo alongside of specimen #o04 makes me wonder whether these two species and C. alius and C. aureopurpurea are just not all colour forms of the one species. The purple patches around the mantle edge have a darker purple spot in the centre, very similar to that in C. aureopurpurea.

I have prepared a Fact Sheet for this species and discussed the synonymy of the 4 species in a separate message [#13260 ]. I have also posted scans of the original illustrations of all the relevant species from Hawaii and the Pacific described by Pease and Garrett.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Mar 7). Comment on Chromodoris albopustulosa from Hawaii by Scott Johnson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Chromodoris albopustulosa from Maui
    From: Philip A. Thomas, October 5, 2007
  2. Chromodoris albopustulosa from Kure Atoll
    From: Scott Johnson, March 7, 2005
  3. Chromodoris alius? from Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
    From: Scott Johnson, March 7, 2005
  4. Chromodoris alius? from Enewetak, Marshall Islands
    From: Scott Johnson, March 7, 2005
  5. More Chromodoris albopustulosa from Hawaii
    From: Scott Johnson, March 7, 2005
  6. Chromodoris albopustulosa from the Marshall Islands
    From: Scott Johnson, March 7, 2005
  7. Original illustration of Goniobranchus albomaculatus Pease 1866
    From: Bill Rudman, March 7, 2005
  8. Original illustrations of some Hawaiian chromodorids
    From: Bill Rudman, March 7, 2005
  9. White and yellow-spotted Hawaiian chromodorids
    From: Bill Rudman, March 7, 2005
  10. Original illustration of Doris albopustulosa Pease 1860
    From: Bill Rudman, March 7, 2005

Show factsheet and all related messages