'undula' form of Phyllidia ocellata

November 10, 2002
From: Marina Poddubetskaia

Dear Bill,
Here are some photos of Phyllidia ocellata undula I found this colour form both in Reunion and Mauritius. It seems that we can't say any more that Phyllidia ocellata undula is endemic to the Red Sea.

Upper Right, Lower Left: October 10, 2002
Location: St-Leu, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean. Site: Les arches. Depth: 6m. Size: 45-50mm
Lower Right: October 13, 2002. Location: Pereybere, Mauritius, Indian Ocean. Site: Anemone Garden. Depth: 19m. Size: 50-55mm
Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia - Nembro website

Best wishes,


Poddubetskaia, M., 2002 (Nov 10) 'undula' form of Phyllidia ocellata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8365

Thanks Marina,
Most people consider P. ocellata undula as a colour variant rather than as a subspecies. As you show in the dorsal photos of the specimens from Reunion and Mauritius, the black markings down each side range from a complete undulating black wave to a broken wave, and then gradually through black spots, to the black rings shown in your other message. There is a nice cryptic little copepod between the rhinophores in the lower right photo.

I have included an enlargement showing the head. Both phyllidiids and dendrodorids have a distinctive arrangement in which flaps of skin on each side of the mouth join on to the anterior edge of the foot to form a pocket or pit in which the mouth opens. It probably has some function in their suctorial feeding, perhaps to enclose the digestive secretions from the oral glands during the process of externally breaking down their sponge food, but as far as I know no one has studied this aspect of their feeding.

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Nov 10). Comment on 'undula' form of Phyllidia ocellata by Marina Poddubetskaia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8365


Phyllidia ocellata

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