Phestilla melanobrachia from Bali

August 8, 2007
From: Mike Krampf

This is an interesting one that my dive buddy, Ernie Ismail, found while we were diving in Seraya Bay near Tulamben. Can you ID this one for me?

Locality: Seraya Bay, 40 ft, Tulamben Area, Bali, Indonesia, Java Sea, 27 July 2007, Black sandy area with scattered small coral patches. Length: 15 mm. Photographer: Mike Krampf.


Krampf, M., 2007 (Aug 8) Phestilla melanobrachia from Bali. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mike,

This is the black form of Phestilla melanobrachia. It is obviously been in an altercation with something because each black dot represents a lost ceras, or to be more positive, each black dot represents the bud of a new cerata. Like Phyllodesmium, species of Phestilla lack cnidosacs, the nematocysts of the corals they eat, obviously not up to the job of defending a nudibranch from predators. As you will see on the autotomy page, species of both these unrelated genera use their ability to drop off cerata as a defensive strategy, just like some lizards can drop their tails.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Aug 8). Comment on Phestilla melanobrachia from Bali by Mike Krampf. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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