Re: Phyllidia exquisita? from Ningaloo

December 14, 2006
From: Kristin Anderson

Concerning message #15656:

When I first saw this nudibranch (upper & middle photos) I thought it was a Phyllidia exquisita but with the orange going all the way around the mantle, I wasn't 100% sure. It also looks quite different to the third image [lower photo] that I have as a Phyllidia exquisita. Certainly could be variations, we get a lot of them!

Locality: Ningaloo Reef, 12m, Western Australia, Indian Ocean, 23 October 2006, limestone & hard coral reef. Length: 3 cm. Photographer: Kristin Anderson.

Appreciate your feedback.
Kristin Anderson

Anderson, K.J., 2006 (Dec 14) Re: Phyllidia exquisita? from Ningaloo. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Kristin,

Have a look at Clay Bryce's message [#838 ] from NW Australia. I think we still have much to learn about the identity of many of the phyllidiid species. Brunckhorst's great revision should be treated as a beginning rather than an end. Certainly there are many photos sent to the Forum which are puzzling. One useful contribution you could make would be to find out what these animals look like from the underside. If they are relatively common, it could be useful to systematically photograph a few from above and below and see if any consistent differences show up. For example some species, like P. elegans, have a black median line on the sole of the foot, and some have the foot bordered in yellow and others don't. I don't know if you will find any differences but it might give us a clue to where we should be paying more attention.

I have included a close-up [middle right] showing the anal papillae. One possibility was that your animal was a form of Fryeria rueppelii, but in that genus the anus opens posteriorly beneath the mantle skirt.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Dec 14). Comment on Re: Phyllidia exquisita? from Ningaloo by Kristin Anderson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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