Re: Hoplodoris sp? from Townsville, QLD

March 18, 2008
From: David Mullins

Concerning message #21191:

Dear Bill,

I notice you commented in the above message that the known distribution of Hoplodoris nodulosa is from southern temperate waters of Australia and New Zealand and that you didn't expect to have it reported from Townsville, Nthn Queensland. Perhaps Gary and I can help fill in some of the distribution gap with these specimens found on two occasions off Mooloolaba, Sthn Queensland in 2004.

Locality: Inner Gneerings, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, 18 metres, Queensland, Australia., Pacific Ocean, 28 August 2004 & 28 December 2004, Rocky reef. Length: 50 mm. Photographer: David Mullins.

I don't think there is any doubt on the identification with the white rings around the packed brown pustules being the clincher.

David Mullins

Mullins,D.A., 2008 (Mar 18) Re: Hoplodoris sp? from Townsville, QLD. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear David,

Thanks for the photos. I am afraid I can't go along with your enthusiasm for the white rings around the tubercles being an 'identification clincher'. If you look at the other species of Hoplodoris on the Forum quite a few have similar white rings. I learnt to be afraid of these 'nodulose dorids' 30 years ago in Tanzania when I thought I had one 'Hoplodoris' species from external appearances, but was puzzled by two or three subtle little differences such as the 'feel' of the live animal and the presence or absence of white flecks at the tip of the tubercles etc. When I came to dissect them I found I had three quite different reproductive systems, differences in radula etc, and despite detailed drawings and photos of all the living animals I could not successfully predict which species I had just by looing at the live animal.

So although I would like to think it is easy to identify species of Hoplodoris and other lookalikes, experience tells me to be wary.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Mar 18). Comment on Re: Hoplodoris sp? from Townsville, QLD by David Mullins. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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