Nudibranch from New Zealand

June 1, 2002
From: Mereana Pou

Kia ora (Greetings) from Auckland, New Zealand. I have recently completed my Advanced Open Water Dive Certificate with Dive HQ - Greenland, Auckland (PADI International).

One of the requirements for this certificate was Marine ID. On this dive I saw little creature that I would have to say, has been the most stunning creature that I have ever seen in the water and on land. I described it to my instructor as being a little white slug about 4 cm long (with my mask on!!!). It had a purple outline on its skirt, yellow spots on its back, purple "ears" and blue eyes. After a while of thinking about it, she proclaimed that it might be a nudibranch.

I jumped on the net to try and find this creature only to discover that there are so many nudibranches that this could be almost impossible for me to find it. The closest I could find has been the Clown Nudibranch. I saw this creature of the North East Coast of New Zealand at a place called Cape Rodney. I was at a depth of 10 m and the water temperature was about 16 degrees.

Is there anyone out there who could help me to identify this creature and does anyone have a picture of it? I have been given an assignment to do and I would very much like to research this nudibranch. I look forward to hearing from anybody about this!!!

Pou, M., 2002 (Jun 1) Nudibranch from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mereana,
I am afraid that identifying marine invertebrates is quite difficult even with a good description or a photo. Unfortunately it is almost impossible for me to solve your puzzle without a photo, especially when you are not sure if it is even a slug.

The only Clown nudibranch I know of is Triopha catalinae and I don't know any NZ relative with the colour pattern you describe. One possibility is Ceratosoma amoena. Another suggestion would be to use the Forum SEARCH BUTTON and type in New Zealand. That will give you a list of the species from New Zealand that are on the Forum. If it has been reporte previously on the Forum from NZ it will make it easier for you to find a photo of it.
Good Luck,
Bill Rudman

2002 (Jun 1). Comment on Nudibranch from New Zealand by Mereana Pou. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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