Re: Living Kalinga ornata

May 26, 2001
From: Andy Woerner

Dear Bill
I found this extremely interesting Nudi on a night dive last night [5 may 2001]in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (The Big Island). We were doing our safety stop in about 110' of water with a sandy bottom. This little fellow drifted by and was just a few inches below the surfaces.

It appears to be very similar to the Kalinga ornata. Its interesting to note that I allowed it to rest on my hand (it did not try to grab on). Once it touched my skin, it erected the 4 red nodules that run down each side... but not to the extreme that Mary Jane Adam's photos show.

Sorry the pictures are so poor. They were captured by Doug Farr from my video and the lights were getting dim. It was around 11pm when we spotted it drifting a few inches below the surface. The terrain below us was a large expanse of sand and rubble for about at least a mile up and down the coast in either direction. There was a mild current running from south to north. The dive site was the wreck of "The Naked Lady" in Kailua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Andy Woerner

Woerner, A., 2001 (May 26) Re: Living Kalinga ornata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Andy,
Thanks for this interesting message. Your observation is almost identical to Tim Hochgrebe's earlier message so it looks like Kalinga ornata makes a habit of floating around like an ungainly balloon. In Mary Jane Adam's photos the anterior red lateral tubercles are very long and extended because they are apparently acting like a dog's whiskers, sensing potential food or danger as the animal crawls along. I suspect these tubercles are extended by a combination of muscles and body fluids being pumped into them. from the Tim and Doug Farr's photos, when Kalinga is floating it puffs its body up into an almost spherical shape and the body fluids are presumably withdrawn from the tubercles, foot and oral veil, which are not needed for floating, and so become very reduced in size.

Thanks for sending these photos to the Forum, and thanks to Doug Farr for allowing us to use his photos.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (May 26). Comment on Re: Living Kalinga ornata by Andy Woerner. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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