Deformed Chromodoris conchyliata

July 7, 2000
From: Valda Fraser

Dear Bill
This is a strange looking one. Where are its gills? I watched it for hours and it seemed very healthy. I took a photo of its underside because I love the colour! The lateral line runs all the way down to the end of the foot.

Locality: Mpande, Transkei, SOUTH AFRICA - intertidal zone
Date: June 2000
Size: 25mm


Fraser, V., 2000 (Jul 7) Deformed Chromodoris conchyliata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Valda,
Apparently something with sharp teeth decided your chromodorid's gills looked like the feeding tentacles of a juicy 'fan worm'. It seems that some nudibranchs can sustain quite considerable body damage and still survive. They can probably 'breathe' to some extent through their skin, but whether they can also carry on normal physiological activities like growth and digestion, we don't know. Although we know that aeolids can replace lost cerata it would be interesting to know whether dorids can regrow lost parts like gills and rhinophores.

The purplish underside to the anterior part of the mantle is certainly spectacular. As I have discussed elsewhere in the Forum there are a group of chromodorids which have this feature and flaunt it by flapping the anterior mantle up and down as they crawli along [see C. geometrica and C. hintuanensis.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jul 7). Comment on Deformed Chromodoris conchyliata by Valda Fraser. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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