Phestilla melanobrachia from Malaysia

April 18, 2002
From: Kheong Sann Chan

Hi Dr. Rudman,
I am just a casual diver/photographer, and recently snapped a lot of really colourful nudibranchs at Pulau Dayang off the East Coast of Malaysia. Depth varied approximately 15-23m deep. I don't have any knowledge of nudibranches and the like, but after having seen so many, I thought I'd drop by your page and see if I could identify them. I didn't even make it through 10% of your species list though ... I thought I'd send you some of the photos and if you happen to know or recognize any of them, then perhaps you could just tell me about them, or point me to where I can dig up more information on them. This one was photographed on the 13 April 2002.


Sann Chan, K., 2002 (Apr 18) Phestilla melanobrachia from Malaysia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Kheong,
Thanks for this and the other photos which I'll post over the next few days. This is a coral-feeding aeolid, Phestilla melanobrachia which has two colour forms, one black, the other bright yellow orange, depending on whether it feeds on a black or orange corals dendrophylliid coral. Larry Harris reported many years ago that this aeolid seem to prefer feeding on pieces of coral that had broken off and were lying on the bottom below the main colony. If you are unfamiliar with the Forum, each species has a Fact Sheet and all the relevant messages are attached in chronological order below, so make sure to look above and below your message for more infomation. Also have a look at the Coral-Feeding page which will give you an index to other relevant pages.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Apr 18). Comment on Phestilla melanobrachia from Malaysia by Kheong Sann Chan. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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