Stiliger? from S.E. Australia

February 3, 2002
From: John Chuk

Dear Bill,
Here are images of a limapontiid I met on a dive at Flinders pier, Victoria, Australia, on January 9, 2002. The species was abundant. I found 18 specimens in a small area at a depth of 2.5m. All but one were on what appeared to be a Cladophora sp. green alga. I did dive the same site at night did not see any specimens.

The rhinophores are simple with an obvious eyespot at their bases. The cerata are black with a small white spot on the tip and a subapical orange band. The orange band is smudged with black. The anterior foot corners are rounded.

The lower right image is of a small specimen (6mm in length) seen feeding on a green alga. The other images are different views of a specimen (12mm in length) found actively crawling over a brown alga (that appears to be Chordaria cladosiphon. This was the largest of all the specimens and the only one not found on the green alga.

I am unable to identify the species but it does have many similarities to Ercolania boodleae. I'd be interested to hear your opinion. In over twenty years of diving at this site this was the first time to find this species. One of the benefits of an interest in opisthobranchs is that no matter how often you dive a site, you never know what will turn up next!

Many thanks for all your help,

Chuk, J., 2002 (Feb 3) Stiliger? from S.E. Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks John,
It certainly has similarities to Ercolania boodleae and also to Stiliger aureomarginatus Jensen, 1993, both of which are essentially black with orange or yellow tips to the cerata. In both species the yellow/orange seems to go right to the tip of ech ceras whereas in your animal it is a distinctly subapical band with a white tip. The other major difference is that in your species the head and rhinophores are white whie in the others they are black.

I would like to hear what Kathe Jensen has to say about this animal. Another interesting find.
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Feb 3). Comment on Stiliger? from S.E. Australia by John Chuk. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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