Re: Chromodoris geometrica and egg mass

November 22, 2001
From: Scott Johnson

Hi Bill,
Valda Fraser's Chromodoris geometrica egg mass is interesting. Here in the Marshalls, the egg ribbon of this species is always light orange or peach colored as in John Chuk's photo. The actual eggs are pure white, but the ribbon color comes from small bright orange extra-capsular yolk bodies, usually distributed as a cap adjacent to each ovum. These bodies are not unique to Chromodoris geometrica; many species of the genus Chromodoris whose eggs I have seen in the Marshalls and in Hawaii have these orange-capped eggs. Those Chromodoris species that do not possess extra-capsular yolk here all have egg masses deposited flat on the substrate like those of Chromodoris elisabethina, which are pictured on the Forum. I really thought I had a potentially significant taxonomic character here for a while, but the pattern breaks down over on the west coast of the Americas. Species of Chromodoris I found in the Sea of Cortez had upright egg coils (not the flat ones of C. elisabethina) that lacked any trace of orange extra-capsular yolk. Oh, well. Of course, the Chromodoris species I saw in the American continental areas were not the same ones as those I saw in the central and west-central Pacific. To have a single species such as C. geometrica show such different egg masses in cooler water at what is likely the edge of its range is interesting indeed. I'd be curious to see if other species whose egg masses typically possess extra-capsular yolk bodies show a similar pattern. Such species include C. tinctoria, C. decora, C. albopunctata, C. kuniei, C. rubrocornuta, and others.


Johnson,, 2001 (Nov 22) Re: Chromodoris geometrica and egg mass. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Scott,
I look forward to a flood of egg mass photos
Bill Rudman

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