Melibe mirifica from Papua New Guinea

September 21, 2000
From: Mary Jane Adams

Note added 22 October 2008: This animal, previously identified on the Forum as Melibe mirifica, is almost certainly not that species, which I now consider to be a synonym of M. japonica. See message [#21985].
Note added 24 October 2008: It is most probably a colour form of M. viridis - see message [#21988]

Hi Bill,
I encountered this Melibe on a night dive at Bunama Mission, Normanby Island, Papua New Guinea. This is the same divesite where I found the Kalinga ornata a year earlier. It was one of a pair that were slurping their way across a sandy bottom. The larger one was about 25 cm crawling length and the smaller one, pictured here, about 15 cm. It was quite a photographic challenge to depict a mostly colorless animal covered with sand on a sandy background at night! Can you see enough detail to ID this species? What do you think the mid body yellow patch is in the upper photo?
Depth: 5 meters March 11, 1999
Mary Jane

Adams, M.J., 2000 (Sep 21) Melibe mirifica from Papua New Guinea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mary Jane,
Your photos are more than clear enough to identify this species as Melibe mirifica. One distinguishing feature of the species are the conical papillae all over without branching filaments.

At first I thought the yellow patch you mention was the site of a lost ceras, which they quite often drop off, but it doesn't seem to be missing any. About that level of the body sit the glands of the reproductive system so it is possibly an ovary or gland of the reproductive system showing through the almost transparent body wall.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Sep 21). Comment on Melibe mirifica from Papua New Guinea by Mary Jane Adams. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Melibe viridis

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