Re: Aiptasia & Austraeolis ornata

June 12, 2000
From: Ian Anderson

Dear Dr Rudman,
Thank you for your reply. It is with some concern that I read your email regarding Aiptasia sp becoming a pest in Australian waters. I have collected Aiptasia sp at Point Peron (40 km south of Perth) and in the lower reaches of the Swan River, not knowing that this beast is an introduced organism. All of this being part of my university project at Underwater World, in regard to finding an Australian predator for their Aiptasia sp problem. We found Austraeolis ornata on colonies of Aiptasia sp in the Swan River and came to the assumption that A. ornata predates on this hydroid, therefore, a university project was born. We have also seen the same anemone at other locations around Perth. I have attached some photos of the anemone.

The discharge water at Underwater world is not sterilized therefore one could assume that cells from Aiptasia sp would be discharged into the open ocean and could quite possibly be colonizing on the sea wall next to the complex. We have searched extensively for Spurilla australis and  S. major with no luck.

Ian Anderson.

Anderson, I., 2000 (Jun 12) Re: Aiptasia & Austraeolis ornata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Ian,
I guess the first question is how did you identify the anemone as Aiptasia? I am not an expert on anemones but clearly that is the first thing that needs checking. 

Concerning the nudibranchs. Are you sure you have Austraeolis ornata?  I haven't ever seen it on anemones. That doesn't mean it never does, but it does raise the possibility that you have a species of Aeolidiella which would be better for you because many species of that genus have direct developing eggs (no larval stage) or lecithotrophic larvae (with short veliger stage) so you could breed up populations of the aeolid in aquaria.

If you could take a few photos it would also give me a chance to check the identity of the aeolid. And can someone with more knowledge of Aiptasia let us know whether they recognise the animal in these photos.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jun 12). Comment on Re: Aiptasia & Austraeolis ornata by Ian Anderson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Austraeolis ornata

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