Mystery from the Philippines

April 21, 1999
From: Erwin Koehler

This photo was made by my buddy Klaus Stark -
It was taken at:
Philippines, Cebu Is., Moalboal housereef, 18m depth, March 1999, size about 12cm.


Koehler, E., 1999 (Apr 21) Mystery from the Philippines. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Erwin,
I think this is not a nudibranch but an ovulid or 'False Cowry' which get their family name Ovulidae from often having an egg-shaped shell, and their common name from looking like a cowry (Cypraeidae) to which they are not closely related.

Ovulids usually hide their shells beneath large mantle flaps which are often brightly coloured. When I get a chance I'll prepare some information on them because they have interesting parallels with nudibranch evolution.

What puzzles me though are the two black 'tubes?' at the front of the animal. Is one a siphon? Is the other one a shadow? Are they enlarged tentacles? Perhaps there are two animals here? Although I try and display images at this size (300 pixels wide), so they load fairly quickly, it would be better, if possible, to send pictures to me a bit bigger so I can look for any important details which might help me in identifying the animals.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Apr 21). Comment on Mystery from the Philippines by Erwin Koehler. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Berthella martensi

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