Baptodoris mimetica
Gosliner, 1991

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Dorididae


This species can be found from Central California to Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico


Ragged Point, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA. Length: 25 mm. 25 May 2005. Rocky shore, low intertidal pool. Photographer: Jeff Goddard

Ground colour bright yellow, with small opaque white spots scattered over the dorsum. The rhinophores are uniformly brown, and the gills are a translucent white. The mantle is covered in microscopic caryophyllidia, similar to those found in species of Rostanga and Jorunna. There are 7-8 bipinnate gills 

This species is named after its striking similarity to the sympatric dorid Doriopsilla albopunctata. Living animals of the two species can be readily separated as Doriopsilla albopunctata has a soft fleshy texture, while Baptodoris mimetica is rigid and covered in fine caryophyllidia. The gills of D. albopunctata  are more branched and spread out to cover more of the mantle than B. mimetica,  whichs holds its gills almost vertical. Ventrally, B. mimetica has digitiform oral tentacles, while in D. albopunctata there are are only rudimentary tentacles on either side of the mouth. It reaches 25 mm in length.

  • Gosliner, T.M. (1991) Four new species and a new genus of opisthobranch gastropods from the Pacific coast of North America. The Veliger, 34: 272-290.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (June 1) Baptodoris mimetica Gosliner, 1991. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Baptodoris mimetica from California

March 19, 2009
From: Brenna Green

Concerning message #13888:

While diving last July in the California Channel Islands, I came across a large number of what I initially thought were Doriopsilla albopunctata, except that I thought some of the slugs looked "a little different": more opaque color to the dorsum, and with erect branchial plumes. Thought there might be some Baptodoris mimetica mixed in with the Doriopsilla.

I checked the ventral side of a few of these individuals, and sure enough, they had labial tentacles. I managed to get a photo of one showing the tentacles in an anterior view, instead of the usual ventral shot.

Locality: Flame Reef, Santa Cruz Island, Northern Channel Islands, 15 meters, California, USA, Pacific Ocean, 5 July, 2008, kelp forest, rock & sand bottom. Length: apprx. 60 mm. Photographer: Brenna Green.

Brenna Green

Green, B., 2009 (Mar 19) Baptodoris mimetica from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Brenna,

Your message is a great example of the importance of having a look and, preferably, photographing the underside of dorids.For those of you unfamiliar with the anatomy of dendrodorids, they all have a rather modified 'head' in which the 'head - mouth' region is linked to the leading edge of the foot and the oral tentacles, which sit on each side of the head in other dorids, are absent. Dendrodorids and phyllidiids feed by exudung salivary juices on to their sponge prey and sucking the half-digested slurry back into their gut. I suspect the strange 'head - mouth' arrangement helps to form a seal to prevent the slurry being washed away as this all happens outside the body in the open water. As you can see in Brenna's photo, her animal has a normal dorid head with an oral tentacle on each side, showing that it is not a Doriopsilla and must be the almost identically coloured Baptodoris mimetica.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2009 (Mar 19). Comment on Baptodoris mimetica from California by Brenna Green. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Baptodoris mimetica & Doriopsilla albopunctata

November 19, 2008
From: Gary McDonald

Concerning message #13888:

Hi Bill:
While in the intertidal this week, I found a specimen of the relatively rare Baptodoris mimetica and took advantage of the opportunity to photograph it next to the similar and quite common Doriopsilla albopunctata. For several years in the late 1960s I was unaware of the existence of B. mimetica and assumed that every yellow dorid with white flecks which I found in the intertidal was D. albopunctata, and I would not bother to pick up the individuals for closer inspection. This species first appears in my notes concerning 2 specimens, both 21 mm long, collected 18 November 1970 at Monastery Beach, Monterey Co., California, USA, depth 100 feet, by Ed Stark. Once I noticed the differences between the two species (B. mimetica has labial tentacles, narrower foot, firmer body, more erect gills, & radula) I started to check each individual to see which species it might be. I've also included close-ups of the gills of both species for comparison. The middle photo - of the upright gills of B. mimetica is of the lower animal in the upper photo. The lower photo shows the spreading gills of a specimen of D. albopunctata which was 71 mm long, found 31 July 2007 at Carmel Pt., Monterey Co., California, USA.

Upper Photo: Showing D. albopunctata (upper) & B. mimetica (lower). Carmel Pt., Monterey Co., intertidal, California, USA, Pacific, 13 November 2008, Rocky intertidal. Length: 20 & 22 mm. Photographer: Gary McDonald.

Gary McDonald

McDonald, G.R., 2008 (Nov 19) Baptodoris mimetica & Doriopsilla albopunctata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Gary,

With these two species - and Doriopsilla gemela - you clearly need to be careful when identifying this group of species.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Nov 19). Comment on Baptodoris mimetica & Doriopsilla albopunctata by Gary McDonald. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Baptodoris mimetica from California

June 2, 2005
From: Jeff Goddard

Hi Bill,
I was surveying a new intertidal site for nudibranchs this morning and found this specimen of Baptodoris mimetica. I thought these images would complement your presentation of the similar looking, but unrelated Doriopsilla albopunctata and D. gemela.

Locality: Ragged Point, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA. Length: 25 mm. 25 May 2005. Rocky shore, low intertidal pool. Photographer: Jeff Goddard

In years past I wouldn't have given this animal a second look, thinking it was just another Doriopsilla albopunctata. I am certainly grateful for the efforts of all you taxonomists in delineating species like these, and in this particular instance, Terry Gosliner.

Best wishes,

Jeffrey H.R. Goddard, 2005 (Jun 2) Baptodoris mimetica from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Jeff,
It's nice to complete the trio
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman