Noumea norba? from Hawaii

December 21, 1999
From: Anne Dupont

Hi Bill,

I was trying to identify some Hawaiian nudibranchs and Mike Miller of the Slug
site was helping me. I sent Mike this photo and he said that my animal appears to be Thorunna gloriosa. Mike said that he did some further research and found that the identification of Thoruuna gloriosa in Han's book was changed to Noumea purpurea at a later date! He referred me to your site discussion on Noumea purpurea and the N. purpurea Colour Group.

According to your posting, the known distribution is limited to Japan. I
photographed this critter in Hawaii several years ago and unfortunately this is the only (poor) photo I have. I thought you might be interested in it.

Happy Holidays,

Dupont, A., 1999 (Dec 21) Noumea norba? from Hawaii. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Anne,

It is in an interesting photo. This species was identified by Bertsch & Johnson (1981) Hawaiian Nudibranchs as Thorunna gloriosa [p60 - top photo only], but it is not Bergh's C. gloriosa [which = Noumea varians]. At that time I identified this Hawaiian form as Noumea purpurea. On the basis of a lot more information now available, including great photos people are sending to the Forum, in a recent message I revised my opinion and now consider that Noumea purpurea and Noumea norba are quite distinct. I think the Hawaiian animal is a colour form of Noumea norba, although the unbroken white median line suggests it is possibly a distinct and unnamed species.

So you can blame me for the confusion. Hopefully they are easier to identify now, but the similarity in colour between some species means that a look at the anatomy may be the only way to be sure.

Bill Rudman.

•Rudman, W.B. (1986) The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: Noumea purpurea and Chromodoris decora colour groups. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 86(4): 309-353.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Dec 21). Comment on Noumea norba? from Hawaii by Anne Dupont. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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