Re: Chelidonura inornata in sthn NSW

March 15, 2006
From: Francis Hawkshaw

Concerning message #16099:

Hi! Bill
I wanted to verify if the Chelidonura inornata in my earlier message had a blue bar below the white area as I described so I went back today to verify this.

I took a clean sterilised glass jar, filled it with sea water from the rock pool where the 2 Chelidonura inornata were grazing, then gently lifted one out of the water with a sterilised plastic spoon and popped it in the jar, took it's photo and gently placed it back in the water where I found it. What an amazing sea creature this Chelidonura inornata is. I thought it had a bright blue bar below the white when I photographed it yesterday, but I was mistaken there was no evidence of a blue bar.

Locality: Gerroa, just below waterline, NSW, intertidal rock pool

Francis Hawkshaw

Hawkshaw, F., 2006 (Mar 15) Re: Chelidonura inornata in sthn NSW. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Francis,
Sometimes the colours in opisthobranchs are not caused solely by skin pigments, so colours will change in a single individual depending on its diet, the angle of the light landing on it, and being reflected by it. Chelidonura inornata certainly has a bluish tinge between the white and the black on the head, which is especially obvious as a blue patch on each side over the translucent region above the eyes. Sometimes you can certainly see a bluish band along the black and white border but I suspect it is a 'structural' colour [like a rainbow] rather than a pigment. If you look at other photos of this species on the Forum you will see that many have traces of this blue.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Mar 15). Comment on Re: Chelidonura inornata in sthn NSW by Francis Hawkshaw. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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