Aeolidiopsis harrietae from New Caledonia

July 24, 2002
From: Bill Rudman

To accompany my photos of specimens from the Great Barrier Reef, here are some photos of Aeolidiopsis harrietae from the south coast of New Caledonia. This species lives and feeds on colonies of the colonial sea-anemone Palythoa living on the reef crest. I almost missed finding these animals as I was so enjoying the hospitality of my French host - and his wine, sitting under a tree on the beach, that we completely missed the low tide.

Touaourou, S of Yate, E Coast, New Caledonia, 25 October 1988, on Palythoa at crest of fringing reef, 35-40mm long. AM C156692. Photos: Bill Rudman

The middle photo shows a section through the ceratal tip showing the cnidosac packed full of the large nematocysts found in the connecting tissue of the Palythoa colony, between the polyps. Above the cnidosac, zooxanthellae can be seen packed near the dorsal surface.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 24) Aeolidiopsis harrietae from New Caledonia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

This photo is a closeup of a section of the animal (left side) on the Palythoa colony showing how well it is camouflaged. The whitish objects, pointed at both ends, are the cnidosacs at the tips of each ceras.

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