Verconia verconis? from Western Australia

March 23, 2006
From: Wendy Hutchison

Hi Bill
Is this nudibranch Verconia verconis as its shape and features tend to suggest? I understand that the species does adapt its colour to the sponges upon which it dines, but interestingly there did not appear to be any yellow sponges in the vicinity. I found it under the Busselton Jetty (WA) in about 10m during a day time dive some time ago.

Locality: Busselton Jetty, 10 metres, Wetern Australia, Indian Ocean, March 2003, Sand, rock under jetty. Length: 3-4 cm. Photographer: Wendy Hutchison.

Wendy Hutchison

Hutchison, W.R., 2006 (Mar 23) Verconia verconis? from Western Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Wendy,
Yes this is Verconia verconis. Although its colour usually matches the sponge that it feeds on, I am not sure how much of the colour is genetically based and how much much is from pigment obtained from its sponge. I have often found it on sponges of a different colour so I tend to think genetics is quite important. It tends to feed on a number of species of darwinellid sponges which range in colour from pink to orange and yellow. With its shape and texture I suspect it looks much like a small darwinellid sponge colony itself, even when away from any sponge. Since darwinellids are  avoided to a large extent by predators - because of the antifeedant chemicals later used by the nudibranchs - I guess looking like a sponge is as useful a defence as being able to hide on a sponge.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Mar 23). Comment on Verconia verconis? from Western Australia by Wendy Hutchison. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Verconia verconis

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