Phyllidiella meandrina from Mayotte Island

November 26, 2009
From: Matthias Deuss

Dear Bill,

Here is a big specimen of Phyllidiella meandrina from Mayotte. I wanted to show it on the forum because it has a very peculiar appearance with its tubercles completely split up, which made me think until today that it was a Phyllidiella pustulosa. The second specimen, a smaller one, is more typical and was found on the same place.
Unfortunately, both were hiding from the sun at low tide under rocks so I didn't see them feeding.

Locality: Moutsoumbatsou reef, 0 m, Mayotte Island, Comoros, Indian Ocean, 20 August 2009, Intertidal rocky reef. Length: 50 & 30 mm. Photographer: Matthias Deuss.


Matthias Deuss

Deuss, M., 2009 (Nov 26) Phyllidiella meandrina from Mayotte Island. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Matthias,

I may be wrong but I consider this to be P. zeylanica. Have a look at my discussion on P. meandrina [message #8381]. There is always the possibility that there are not as many species as we think, but clearly a lot more work needs to be done, but I suspect until we look at local populations and their biology and natural history we won't be able to sort out inter- and intra-specific variation. Your animals certainly hint at the circular ridges of P. meandrina but I am not sure where we draw the line. It is a perfect example of the problems which still exist in identifying these species.

One point I should add. It seems all species of Phyllidiella can range from having a pink background to a grey green background. I dont think we can use pink or green as specific characters. I came to that conclusion once when collecting different coloured specimens of P. pustulosa to see of there were anatomical differences between pink and green animals. It was very frustrating when it came time to photograph and preserve each specimen to find that in the lab they had all turned to the same colour!

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Nov 26). Comment on Phyllidiella meandrina from Mayotte Island by Matthias Deuss. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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