Austraeolis ornata from Sydney

November 26, 2001
From: Mairi Prisk

I have a seahorse tank which I often replenish with water from Sydney's Northern Beaches areas, in particular Mona Vale and Palm Beach [New South Wales, Australia]. I found this gorgeous beast a few weeks ago. It was about 1cm when I first saw it, now it is about 1 inch! I have a regular population of sea hares (pink and dark brown) as well.

I get the water from tidal pools inhabited with sea grasses, lots of dragonets and other small fish fry, cleaner shrimp, snails and starfish. Usually I go as the tide has recently receded, so I can search for hermits as shrimp. The pools are sandy and have constant flow, so the water for the horses is very fresh.

I appreciate your help!
Mairi Prisk

Prisk, M., 2001 (Nov 26) Austraeolis ornata from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mairi,
Your animal is Austraeolis ornata. Have a look at the top of this page, and at the messages below yours, for more information. It is quite common in intertidal pools around Sydney, and in fact around much of temperate Australia. Although it is a hydroid feeder, it also seems to be quite catholic in its food requirements, having been observed eating carrion and at times other nudibranchs. If it has doubled in size in your aquaria, it has obviously found a satisfactory source of food.
best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Nov 26). Comment on Austraeolis ornata from Sydney by Mairi Prisk. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Austraeolis ornata

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