Trapania dalva from Florida

March 5, 2002
From: Linda Ianniello

Hi, Bill.
Here are two shots of a nudibranch I can't identify, that maybe you can help with. The edges all seem to be white and fuzzy ..... it is not crisp and clean like some others. It is very small; these shots are 2:1 and cropped, and still not very good I'm afraid. I've only found it a couple of times, at night, on the reef off Delray Beach, Florida, at a depth of about 55'.

I sent the shots to Colin Redfern and Sandra Millen, and they think it is from the family Polyceridae and appears to be a Polycera sp or a Palio.

Thanks for any help with the identification!

Linda I.

Ianniello, L., 2002 (Mar 5) Trapania dalva from Florida. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Linda,
I think this is probably Trapania dalva. It's hard to be sure but I'm pretty convinced I can see a curved lateral process on the outside of each rhinophore but I am not so sure about the ones alongside the gills. Colin Redfern describes a specimen from the Bahamas in his book and I can see nothing in that description which precludes your animals and his being the same species. he talks of many white and some orange spots in the brown regions of the body.

Another reason I think your animal is probably a species of Trapania is that in both your photos it is on a sponge, which is a common place to find speies of Trapania, not because they feed on the sponge but because they almost certainly feed on entoprocts which live in association with the sponge.

If you can check out your photos to see if there are any signs of recurved lateral processes alongside the gills it would help clarify the situation. I have been posting a lot of messages about species of Trapania in the last couple of days, so have a look at them to see the shape of the lateral processes.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Mar 5). Comment on Trapania dalva from Florida by Linda Ianniello. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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