Found throughout New Zealand between 3 and 40 metres.
Poor Knights Islands, northeastern New Zealand. Grows to about 55mm. On Solanderia ramosa, the hydroid on which it feeds. PHOTO: Diane Armstrong.
This brilliantly coloured aeolid is found feeding only on the hydroid Solanderia ramosa. Ross Armstrong has also seen it on the coast and at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour.
• Miller, M.C. (1974) Aeolid nudibranchs (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) of the family Glaucidae from New Zealand waters. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 54: 33-61.
• Willan, R.C. & Coleman, N. (1984). Nudibranchs of Australasia. Australian Marine Photographic Index: Sydney.
Rudman, W.B., 1998 (December 12) Jason mirabilis Miller, 1974. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/jasomira
February 18, 2010
From: Anna Barnett
I would like to have this nudibranch identified if possible please. I have been referred to this forum by someone on the Flickr website where I asked if anyone knew what it was.
Locality: Cape Soucis, Marlborough Sounds, 11 metres, South Island, New Zealand, 10 February 2010, Gravelley sea floor, Large boulders, and the nudibranchs were feeding on fans attached to the large boulders.. Length: 2 mm. Photographer: Anna Barnett.
Barnett, A.M., 2010 (Feb 18) Nudibranch from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/23235
I am pretty sure this is the aeolid, Jason mirabilis, which is only found in new Zealand waters. It usually has a pink body, which makes it a spectacular sight, but I guess there are variations. This species lives and feeds on the large branching hydroid, Solanderia racemosa, and if you look at photos of the hydroid in other messages about this species you will find that in your hydroid colony most of the side branches on which the polyp animals live have been eaten off, presumably by the many aeolids present. At some stage soon I suspect they will start laying eggs over the 'skeletal' remains of the hydroid colony
January 8, 2004
From: Mark Burnett
Hi again Bill and Happy New Year to you. Following up on my message of last June, I dived on the Rainbow Warrior again on 17th December and found two small and one large Jason mirabilis plus quite a few egg ribbons. The small specimens were both around 3cm and the large one 5cm. Hopefully I will be back at the Warrior later in January so will have a chance to see if there is an increase in their numbers.
These pictures were taken at a depth of 23 metres and water temperature was 16 degrees Centigrade.
email@example.comBurnett, M., 2004 (Jan 8) Jason mirabilis from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/11826
It's good to see some good come of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. The artificial reef it has become has certainly attarcted a lot of interest in the marine enironment. Jason mirabilis seems to have become either a permament resident or a very regular visitor. I was interested in your mention of the large populations of Tambja verconis. I guess it would be hard to miss, but it might be worth looking out for Roboastra luteolineata. If you are very lucky you might see it feeding on Tambja as reported by the Armstrongs [see message].
June 11, 2003
From: Mark Burnett
I have a question about Jason mirabilis. Recently (April 26th) I dived on the Rainbow Warrior wreck after a gap of some years. While there was no shortage of Solanderia hydroids not a Jason was to be seen. During the summer there are plenty to be found. My question is, where do they go during the winter? I assume the adults die off. Do the eggs overwinter or the larvae? The water was 19 deg C so not much colder than the summer high of around 23 deg C. The photos included are also from the Rainbow Warrior taken in September 1995. Size 5cm, depth 18 metres, temperature 20 deg C.
firstname.lastname@example.orgBurnett, M., 2003 (Jun 11) Jason mirabilis from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/10179
We have a lot to learn about the life cycles of nudibranchs and what we do know seems to suggest that each species has its own particular story - or at least there are many different strategies employed by opisthobranchs to produce the next generation. Many species live for less than a year so during the time they can't be found at a particular spot their offspring are either in an egg ribbon or drifting in the ocean as a veliger larvae. The other possibility is that the next generation settled somewhere else that divers don't go. The presence of their hydroid food Solanderia at a certain spot is necessary for the larvae of Jason mirabilis to settle out of the plankton, but it doesn't mean they always will. There are any number of reasons why, on some occasions, Jason larvae never settle on even the most lush colony of Solanderia - not the least being that the microscopic larvae are at the mercy of the currents.
December 7, 2002
From: Ian Simpson
Here are some photos of Jason mirabilis. You didn't appear to have many photos of this species on the website. This specimen was on the same hydroid two days in a row, which grew from the side of the hull of the Rainbow Warrior.
Data: Wreck of the Rainbow Warrior. NE New Zealand,9th November 2001; depth 20 metres.
Simpson, I., 2002 (Dec 7) Jason mirabilis from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8605
It's certainly good to get some more photos of this unique New Zealand aeolid, which feeds on this hydroid, Solanderia ramosa.
It is also good to see something positive has come of the outrageous Rainbow Warrior affair. For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, the Rainbow Warrior was the flagship of the Green Peace organisation leading protests against the French Nuclear tests in the Pacific. While in Auckland Harbour it was bombed by French Secret Service agents in July 1985, killing one of the crew. The wreck was relocated off the Cavalli Islands, just north of the Bay of Islands in northeastern New Zealand two years later, to form an artificial reef and living memorial. It is now home to a spectacular assemblage of marine life.
December 12, 1998
Armstrong, R., 1998 (Dec 12) Jason mirabilis from New Zealand.
[Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney.
Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/381
From: Ross Armstrong
I have posted above the photos of Jason mirabilis Ross Armstrong has sent from New Zealand. See his letter.