Phyllidia babai or P. ocellata ?

June 6, 2007
From: Wyatt Ang

Dear Bill,

Please help me solve the mystery of the animal I captured. It perfectly fits the description of a Phyllidia babai but I saw a similar colour form mating with a P. ocellata on your Forum [message #5458 ]. If they are indeed 2 different species, how do we tell them apart?

Locality: Lembeh Strait, 6m, Indonesia, Mollucca Sea, 13 November 2006, Coral rubble, Silty, black volcanic sand. Length: 8 cm. Photographer: Wyatt Ang.

Thanks and regards

Ang, W.L, 2007 (Jun 6) Phyllidia babai or P. ocellata ? . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Good question Wyatt,

That's what I asked in the same message [#5458 ]. I am afraid sometimes new species are named without a good appreciation of colour variation within existing species. Websites like the Forum are giving us the opportunity to accumulate more information on colour variability than we ever have had before. Although we can't do without specimens for the study and comparison of anatomical differences, photos are giving us, for the first time, a way to see where problems in identity may exist.  At this stage I would call your animal P. babai, although that species is most probably just a white form of P. ocellata.

I have included a close-up alongside to show your animal is infested with little brown acoelate flatworms.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Jun 6). Comment on Phyllidia babai or P. ocellata ? by Wyatt Ang. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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