Re:Tambja morosa in New Zealand

April 2, 1999
From: Ross Armstrong

Hi Bill

I see that Ian Skipworth has sent you an excellent photo of this nudibranch.  Ian has got a very good web-site with some excellent photos including some quite rare nudibranchs which I am yet to find.   In regard to your comment about the colour my own experience is that they are normally a much darker green, almost black.

My experience is that they are quite common at the Poor Knights this year but reasonably rare in previous years.  This may just be my
previous inability to find them.

I have attached two of my own images. The one of Tambja on the ascidian was not posed. It was photographed in Bernie's cave near Middle Arch at the Poor Knights late last year.  There were several Tambja morosa in the cave.  There was also a lot of ascidians.  When I first photographed the
particular nudibranch it was not on the ascidians.  However the nudibranch was moving along reasonably quickly for nudibranchs and happened to crawl (if that is what nudibranchs do) over the ascidians.  I thought it was a good photo opportunity.

I had to hurry to get some photos before it reached the other side.  I am fairly sure it was not feeding but just passing through, however that was based on an assumption at the time.  None of the other Tambja morosa were on the ascidians. There was also four or five Tambja verconis at the entrance to the cave.

We have had a lot of the more uncommon nudibranchs at the Poor Knights this summer.  Possibly something to do with La Nina?


Ross Armstrong

Note the change in e-mail address.  I am setting up a web site - not a lot of nudibranch photos though.

Armstrong, R., 1999 (Apr 2) Re:Tambja morosa in New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Ross,
Thanks for the photos. It is an intersting picture with the bryozoan-eating Tambja on the ascidians. When I first saw your photo I thought it is either posed or we have an ascidian-feeding species of Nembrotha mimicking Tambja morosa! It's a good example of how important it is to treat photos of apparent feeding episodes with caution.

Good luck with your website. I look forward to additions. I must say I love the ray photo and the way you have rainbow coloured the hydroids.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Apr 2). Comment on Re:Tambja morosa in New Zealand by Ross Armstrong. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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