One of the most common nudibranchs throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Showing variation in arrangement of tubercles in UPPER: The tubercles in this species can range in colour from pink to green to white. Pelorus Is., North Queensland, October 1983, 15-43mm long. Photo: Bill Rudman. LOWER: 22 m depth, "Sponge mound", Apra Harbour, Guam, 5 July 1988, dorsal view of 65 and 56 mm specimens (Brunckhorst, 1993: Plate 5F). PHOTO: D. Brunckhorst.
Notes compiled from Brunckhorst, 1993:
Phyllidiella pustulosa changes in appearance as it grows. However, diagnostic features recognisable at any stage include the three median clusters of pink tubercles. The tubercles are in a cluster, which is amalgamated in juveniles and separated in large animals. The intensity of pink coloration (and green-grey tones) are possibly related to diet and time since feeding. Other distinguishing characters are the pale pink edge to the mantle, the broad, triangular, black tipped oral tentacles and the rhinophoral clavus possessing 22-26 lamellae (specimens greater than 35 mm). Phyllidiella pustulosa is closest in appearance to Phyllidiella annulata, Phyllidiella zeylanica and Phyllidiella granulata. P. annulata differs in having many pink rings with low angular tubercles, in lacking a pale edge to the mantle and in the possession of 17-20 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus (specimens greater than 23 mm). P. zeylanica has pink compound tubercles which are coalesced into longitudinal ridges (i.e., not clusters), black longitudinal lines, and the anal opening partially encircled by pink tubercles. P. zeylanica is pale grey ventrally and has 20-23 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus (specimens greater than 30 mm). P. granulatus has three median groups of tubercles but differs from P. pustulosa in that the tubercles are acute, multi-compound and white with grey bases and intermediate granular grey areas, a granular grey mantle edge and 17-20 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus.
• Brunckhorst, D.J. (1993) The systematics and phylogeny of Phyllidiid Nudibranchs (Doridoidea). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 16: 1-107.
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (September 12) Phyllidiella pustulosa (Cuvier, 1804). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/phylpust
June 2, 2010
From: Eric Thorén
Took this photo in Lembeh. Of course it is a Phyllidia pustulosa, but what's the companion?
Locality: Nudi Retreat, Lembeh, 10 metres, Indonesia, Indo-Pacific, 12 April 2010. Length: 2-3 mm. Photographer: Eric Thorén.
email@example.comThorén, E, 2010 (Jun 2) Phyllidia pustulosa hitch hiker?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/23635
I don't like to get too specific in identifying non-opisthobranchs both because I have no special expertise and because I have too many unanswered sea slug queries still unposted.
I can definitely say its a crustacean, and perhaps an isopod, but the angle of the photo makes identification extremely difficult. Your local museum may be able to help.
November 12, 2009
From: Zeineb Alhaidari
Here are 2 Phyllidiella pustulosa mating , if you think it is of interest for the forum.
Locality: Dive site : Critter Hunt , Lembeh strait, 20 metres, North Sulawesi , Indonesia, Molucca sea, 8 October 2009, Sandy bottom with scattered reefs. Length: 4 cm. Photographer: Zeineb Alhaidari.
Very best regards,
firstname.lastname@example.orgAlhaidari, Z., 2009 (Nov 12) Phyllidiella pustulosa mating. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22724
August 18, 2007
From: Leanne & David Atkinson
We've recently visited Vanuatu and the warm (26 degrees celcius)clear waters of Hideaway Island, surrounded by Mele Reef, revealed a few interesting nudibranchs.
Locality: Kathleen Reef, Hideaway Island, 20metres, Vanuatu, Pacific, 6 July 2007, Coral Reef. Length: approximately 60mm. Photographer: Leanne & David Atkinson.
Our diveguide Joka found 4 Phyllidiella pustulosa and an egg ring in one spot. Having read on the forum about the importance of looking at the foot as well for identification I turned one over to photograph the foot. Much to my surprise when I replaced it there was a white substance coming off it looking much like it was smoking. You mention in reply to a message by Andy Watts [#9476] that they give off a milky defensive secretion. We think this is an example of it actually happening. This nudibranch is definitely doing something, hope we didn't hurt it.
Thanks for the paper on sponges and chromodorids feeding.
Leanne & David Atkinson
email@example.comAtkinson, L.& D., 2007 (Aug 18) Milky defensive secretions in Phyllidiella. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/20465
Dear Leanne & David,
I'm glad you thought of turning over the Phyllidiella, it's resulted in this excellent photo of their milky secretions. I am sure you didn't hurt the animal - it was responding to a threat in its usual manner. I mentioned these nasty secretions very early on in the life of the Forum [see message #98]. It is one of the reasons I advise against keeping phyllidiids in home aquariums, because the secretions will kill most life in the aquarium and can also fill the room with acrid fumes.
I'm glad you got the pdf of the chromodorid feeding paper. I tried to send a copy to all those who contributed by sending observations to the Forum. I am afraid some contributors have changed their email addresses so if anyone wants a copy and hasn't received one please let me know.
May 18, 2007
From: Mirjam Broos
Only at home studying our photos, did I see that these slugs (Phyllidiella pustulosa?)were probably mating.
Locality: Nudi Falls, Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 09-10-2006, muckdiving. Photographer: Geert Prast.
firstname.lastname@example.orgBroos, M., 2007 (May 18) Phyllidella pustulosa mating. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19118
Yes these are P. pustulosa, and yes they are mating. It is interesting to see that one animal has a distinct pink tinge and the other has the hint of grey green with a couple of pinkish tubercles. I have seen an animal change from pink to greenish in a couple of hours.
November 27, 2006
From: Mike Krampf
A belated welcome back. I've been doing some good diving in Tulamben, Sulawesi and Lembeh Strait over the last few months and am just now getting around to sorting and trying to ID my pics.
Locality: Bangka Island, 45 ft, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Celebes Sea, 24 October 2006, Reef. Length: 3 cm. Photographer: Mike Krampf.
This is an interesting pic I thought I'd share with you because of the hitchhiking that is on this nudi which I am calling a Phyllidiella pustulosa. It looks like a juvenile nudibranch and I didn't notice it until I looked at the picture on my computer. I've never taken a pic of a nudi with what appears to be another nudi on it. Your thoughts?
email@example.comKrampf, Mike, 2006 (Nov 27) Phyllidiella pustulosa with a hitchhiker. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/18556
Definitely a nuidbranch hitchhiker - it is a small aeolid, possibly Cuthona ornata - but if it is that species it's a bit further south than normally reported.
I am pretty sure the phyllidiid is Phyllidiella pustulosa as you suggest.
April 29, 2006
From: Ian Skipworth
Here's Phyllidiella pustulosa (I think) from The Kermadecs.
Locality: Meyer Island, near Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands, 15m, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, 20 March 2006, Rocky reef. Length: 35mm. Photographer: Ian Skipworth.
I saw these slugs on 5 out of 8 dives so they would seem to be very common there.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSkipworth, I.R., 2006 (Apr 29) Phyllidiella pustulosa from The Kermadecs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16433
Species of Phyllidiella are not only quite common in tropical waters but the very potent chemicals they store in their skin make them seriously distasteful to potential predators. They therefore make little attempt to hide and so are often the only nudibranchs on open display.
Like H. willeyi [message #16432] this species was also reported by Brook (1998) from the Kermadecs
Brook, F.J. 1998: The coastal molluscan fauna of the northern Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 28: 185-233.
March 31, 2006
From: Kevin Lee
Need some assistance to identify the attached nud. Perhaps a Phyllidiella pustulosa?
Locality: Tomea Island, approx. 30 feet, SE Sulawesi, Indonesia, Indo Pacific, 30 September 2005, Coral wall. Length: 1.5 inch. Photographer: Kevin Lee.
Not sure as it doesn't properly resemble any reference images I've looked at. Many thanks.
email@example.comLee, Kevin, 2006 (Mar 31) Phyllidiella pustulosa? from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16184
I would call it P. pustulosa. Quite a few of the Phyllidiella species have a green colour form - in fact the same animals can change from pink to green overnight. I have no idea how or why they can do this.
February 14, 2006
From: Umut Tural
I have 2 specimen from Red sea which look like each other so much or maybe they are same species. Only difference that I observed is color variation of body outgrowths, like small islands on their body. One of them has bright-white color, the other one has more dark color or it's just optical illusion. I dont even know nothing about them if could help me I would appreciate much. thanks.
Locality: Gota Abu ramada, Hurghada, 9m, Egypt, Red sea, 10 January 2006, sandy. Length: 8 mm. Photographer: Dergun Tansel
firstname.lastname@example.orgUmut Tural, 2006 (Feb 14) Red Sea phyllidiids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15768
It's possible the pinkish one is Phyllidiopsis sinaiensis but I am pretty sure the black one is Phyllidiella pustulosa. I'm afraid some of these phyllidiids are difficult to identify. It is more difficult when in the photos they are not sitting flat, because I can't see the complete dorsal pattern. Its also useful to know the colour of the rhinophores and if possible what colour they are underneath. I realise that this is not always possible so I guess we can never be sure from these photos
September 28, 2005
From: Kamal El Tawil
some other pictures from the Red Sea. this animal was moving impressively fast.
Locality: Small reef, St John's reefs, Egypt, Red Sea. Depth: 12 meters. Length: approx 4 cms. 19 September 2005. Photographer: Kamal El Tawil
email@example.comEl Tawil, K., 2005 (Sep 28) Phyllidiella pustulosa from the Red Sea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/14844
I am pretty sure you are right to identify this as Phyllidiella pustulosa. There are some similar looking species, which makes identifying 'atypical' animals difficult. In this specimen it looks as thought the pale tubercles form rings on the dorsum, but it is difficult to be sure from the angle the phoptos been taken. If they ate circles, it certainly has similarities to Phyllidiella annulata.
When you said it moved very quickly, I first checked to see it was not a flatworm mimicking a phyllidiid. There is a flatworm with a remarkable likeness - and they certainly move faster than most nudibranchs.
April 15, 2005
From: Dr Michael Seebeck
Good to see that the Forum is back! I am a doctor on Christmas Island currently. I must admit I often don't give members of the Phyllidiella genus a second look as they seem to be the most common opisthobranchs here at present. Excuse my ignorance, but I have often seen Phyllidiella pustulosa and I thought that the animals that most look like Phyllidiopsis burni were just a variation of this species. Could you please explain the differences?
firstname.lastname@example.orgSeebeck, M., 2005 (Apr 15) Re: Phyllidiella pustulosa from Christmas Island. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/13446
Some of these phyllidiids are very difficult to identify externally, and despite Brunckhorst's exhaustive monograph, we still have more to learn. Phyllidiella pustulosa and Phyllidiopsis burni are difficult to separate externally, and most of the characters that separate the two genera concern the internal anatomy, which makes field identification, and identifying photos almost impossible. The only external character to be sure of is to look at the small oral tentacles just above the mouth - which I'm afraid you can only see if you turn the animal over. In Phyllidiella pustulosa there are a pair of triangular oral tentatcles - usually black-tipped. In Phyllidiopsis burni the oral tentacles are fused into a single oval shaped plate above the mouth. Sorry there is not a simple solution
December 19, 2003
From: Kenji Kobayashi
Could you identify this species. The hotos were taken in Saipan (Northern Mariana Ids).
email@example.comKobayashi, K., 2003 (Dec 19) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Saipan. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/11659
These are Phyllidiella pustulosa, a very common tropical Pacific species
October 19, 2003
From: Gary Cobb
Please find attached another 2 photos I took while diving at The President Coolidge wreck at Santo Vanuatu. It was 40mm long, 30m depth, Sept 2003
Is it Phyllidia madangensis?
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa
June 26, 2003
From: Don Barclay
I suppose this is Phyllidiella pustulosa although it is a little different from any I've seen in Tonga or Samoa.
Data: 22 May 2003, early afternoon (tide low +2 hours), 400 meters east of Captain Cook Hotel, north shore, Christmas Island, Line Islands, eastern Kiribati; under slab on sand and rubble area of reef flat, .5m deep; length 22mm
firstname.lastname@example.orgBarclay, D., 2003 (Jun 26) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Christmas I., E. Kiribati. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/10094
I agree that this is probably just a form of P. pustulosa. I appreciate the photo of the foot, although not vital in this case, it is a very valuable, if not essential bit of information in many species.
May 26, 2003
From: Des Paroz
Attached are a couple of photos from Jervis Bay [New South Wales, Asutralia] of P. pustulosa. I had thought that this was a long way south for this species, but I see from Dave Harasti's post that it is not the first.
As an aside, another photographer on the trip found and photographed a Chromodoris kuniei in Jervis Bay - definitely a long way south for this one too!
email@example.comParoz, D., 2003 (May 26) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Jervis Bay, NSW. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/9989
I've posted your message about the definitely tropical Phyllidiella pustulosa on the same day I posted Sue Newson's message about Philinopsis taronga a species more at home in the temperate waters of southeastern Australia and New Zealand. It's a good example of the mixture of tropical and temperate animals which make the marine fauna of New South Wales so fascinating.
March 27, 2003
From: Andy Watts
I am studying the Phyllidiella pustulosa in Indonesia this summer and I am trying to find background papers on them (which would be available in England) Can you help?
I need to know about:
Life cycles (how long they live for).
Parasitic copepods, which attach themselves to the outside of the nudi.
Their defence mechanisms.
If they can migrate to different coral reef flats.
We know very little about the general biology and natural history of most phyllidiids. Brunckhorst in his 1993 monograph summarised what was known about all phylidiids in a couple of pages. You should look at a copy of that for background information. I don't think there is much we can add to that in the intervening decade.
Concerning defence - The phyllidiids are well-known for the milky defensive secretions they exude from their skin [see Chemical defence - phyllidiids]. If I have missed any important published research please let me know.
March 8, 2003
From: Marina Poddubetskaia
There is another found from my diving cruise to Brothers Islands. Are these two specimens Phyllidiella pustulosa?
For the first one I have included a close-up of the head to better see the rhinophores and the ventral view which shows well the pale edge of the mantle, characteristic to this species.
And for the other, I have included dorsal and ventral views of the animal. The rhinophores can’t be seen here, but I remember well that they were black.
Date: February 08, 2003
Location: Safaga, Egypt, Red Sea
Site: Tobia IV
Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia - Nembro website
firstname.lastname@example.orgPoddubetskaia, M., 2003 (Mar 8) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Egypt (1). [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/9246
I am still not that confident with some of these Indian ocean phyllidiids. I guess this one is P. pustulosa, but I think the one in your second message could be Phyllidiopsis sinaiensis.
February 7, 2003
From: Danny Van Belle
Common in the Tuamotu's is this phyllidiid which is really black and pink. Can you identify please ?
Van Belle, D., 2003 (Feb 7) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Tuamotu Ids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/9070
I can't be a 100% sure but I think this is a form of the common Phyllidiella pustulosa. I can't see the characteristic thin pink line around the mantle edge, except for a hint of it in the lower left photo. It looks a bit like Phyllidiopsis burni, but in that species the tubercles have multiple tips.
February 7, 2003
From: Ginette Allard
Is it Phyllidiopsis fissuratus? From Bunaken National Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
email@example.comAllard, G., 2003 (Feb 7) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/9116
I am afraid I can't see enough in the photo to be sure but I think this is probably the common Phyllidiella pustulosa. This animal has a black background colour so it unlikely to be Phyllidiopsis fissuratus, which is essentially pink with black lines.
November 23, 2002
From: Allan Saben
Here is a photo of Phyllidiella pustulosa from Dee Why, Sydney, NSW [Australia], 27 meters, which I took some time this year.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSaben, A., 2002 (Nov 23) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Sydney, NSW. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8431
Yes I'm pretty sure that this is P. pustulosa. It's interesting how specimens of this species from the southern part of New South Wales, far south of tropical waters, always seem to have smooth flattened tubercles. [see David Harasti's message for another example].
July 28, 2002
From: Nishina Masayoshi
I have seen so many specimens of Phyllidiella pustulosa but this is a first time to see their egg laying. The egg ribbon is rather interesting. It's a flattened spiral.
Date: 21 July, 2002
Location: Hachijo Island, Japan
Photo: M. Nishina
email@example.comMasayoshi, N., 2002 (Jul 28) Egg ribbon of Phyllidiella pustulosa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/7622
This is a very welcome addition. As you say we know so little about the biology of the phyllidiids, that any information is very welcome. The flat egg mass is reminiscent of that found in some chromodorids. As far as I know Phyllidia varicosa is the only species of phyllidiid that we know anything about its embryological development, and Brunckhorst (1993) could find published information on the egg ribbon of only two species. He supplemented this with observations on three more which makes a grand total of 5 species for which we know the shape of the egg ribbon! Interestingly they were all a very similar flat coil.
So any information on any species is very welcome.
July 23, 2002
From: Maliza Anuar
Another photo taken in Tioman, off the east coast of west Malaysia.
Dive Site: Soyak Island, 23 June 2002, 4:15pm
Depth: 12m. Size: 3-4cm
firstname.lastname@example.orgAnuar, M., 2002 (Jul 23) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Malaysia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/7514
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa.
July 8, 2002
From: Rachel Murphy
Phyllidiids of different species were the most common type of nudibranch seen on my recent trip to the Solomon Islands. Here is one that I have tentatively identified as Phyllidiella pustulosa. Can you confirm this?
Hotspot, Gizo, Solomon Is, 18 April 2002, 20m, 29C
email@example.comMurphy, R., 2002 (Jul 8) Phyllidiella pustulosa? from the Solomons. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/7421
Yes I am pretty sure this is P. pustulosa. Phyllidiids are often the most easily seen nudibranch in tropical waters. The general belief is that the nasty chemicals they have in their skin make them fairly unattractive to fish predators, so they have less reason to hide during the day than other less well protected soft-bodied animals.
July 4, 2002
From: Ken Tucker
I thought perhaps that this was Phyllidiella pustulosa, but the photo shows black rhinopores.
From Fiji, western side of Viti Levu, less than 40 ft, length not measured.
Ken@kilili.comTucker, K., 2002 (Jul 4) Phyllidiella pustulosa? from Fiji. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4870
If you follow the Forum, even irregularly, you will see that we still have a lot to learn about the phyllidiids. This could be Phyllidiella pustulosa as you suggest. That species does have black rhinophores, but the pattern of thin black lines seems a bit strange. A slight possibility is Phyllidiella cooraburrama, but on balance I think its best to stick with Phyllidiella pustulosa.
July 1, 2002
From: Bill Rudman
AM C126496, 10 November 1980, 9m, on coral rocks, North Arm, Cantilever, Christmas Is. Photo: John Hicks
June 28, 2002
From: Anthony Yang
Thank you so much for all your help... please ID this.
firstname.lastname@example.orgYang, A., 2002 (Jun 28) Phyllidiella pustulosa in aquarium. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/7364
I have no idea where you live or how this animal came to be in your aquarium. If you live in the tropics and have caught this animal yourself then its not a good idea to keep it in a tank with fish or any other animals for that atter because when disturbed it can secrete some very nasty chemicals into the water which will kill other things in your tank, and might even make your eyes sting from the vapours which escape inot the air. If you have bought it from a local aquarium shop then it is probably starving and will probably have already emptied its glands. If so, then it will probably not be a problem in your tank until it dies of starvation. This is Phyllidiella pustulosa. Like all phyllidiids it has a specialist sponge feeder, eating one or a very few species of sponges.
June 22, 2002
From: Kheong Sann Chan
Here are some more photos from Pulau Dayang off the east coast of west Malaysia.
Location: Pulau Dayang, Pinnacles
Date: 8 June, 0800
email@example.comChan, K.S., 2002 (Jun 22) Phyllidiella pustulosa from west Malaysia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/7212
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa.
April 23, 2002
From: Kheong Sann Chan
Hi Dr. Rudman,
Here are some more nudibranchs from Pulau Dayang off the East Coast of Malaysia. Depth varied approximately 15-23m deep. The upper pair were photographed on the 13 April, 2002, the lower one on the 14th April.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSann Chan, K., 2002 (Apr 23) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Malaysia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/6776
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa which can range in colour for a quite dark green to pink. In the upper photo, the whitish tube joining the two animals shows that tbey are mating. Like all nudibranchs, these animals are hermaphrodites with fully functional male and female reproductive organs. Usually, both animals insert their penis into the other partner's vagina. In most nudibranchs the penis and vagina open alongside each other in the top right corner of the animal.
February 20, 2002
From: Des Paroz
Just working through slides and scans from my recent Papua New Guinea trip. Tufi turned about to be an excellent place for nudi hunting! Attached are some photos of what I believe to be P. pustulosa.
All were taken in Tufi Fjord, where current is minimal, and water quite clear. Temp was a consistent 28C in the fjord [September 2001].
Paroz,D., 2002 (Feb 20) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Tufi, PNG. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5424
Yes I am pretty sure these are Phyllidiella pustulosa. The tubercles are not as numerous as usual, but the black background and rhinophores, compound tubercles and white mantle border are all characteristic
January 26, 2002
From: Erwin Köhler
Data: November 2001, Thailand, Phi Phi Islands, size and depth not recorded.
Erwin@medslugs.deKöhler, E., 2002 (Jan 26) Unknown phyllidiid from Thailand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/6053
This is P. pustulosa. It has a pale edge to the mantle and compound tubercles, while p. nigra is black at the mantle edge and the tubercles are usuaully single and quite high.
January 4, 2002
I was directed to post this ID as we were unable to come up with a more exact ID on Reef Central. Please let me know if you have an idea as to what it might be.
This thing is about 2-3mm wide and maybe 8-10mm long. I can see antennae and there is no visible shell, thus we concluded it was possibly a sea slug.
email@example.comGoldrim, 2002 (Jan 4) Can you assist with an ID please?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5888
It's always useful to give us some idea of where the slug was found. Different parts of the world have quite different species of animals.
Your animal certainly looks like a sea slug and is probably a species of Phyllidiella - most probably P. pustulosa. See John Chuk's message. Species of phyllidiid do not have a set of gills on their back but I am not sure from your rather blurred photo whether I can see gills or not. I guess the 'antennae' you mention are at the right end of your photo. There also seems to be something black at the left end but that coukd be something on the rock behind. Can you let me know or send another photo to clarify whether it has gills or not. If it does, then it is probably one of a number of dorid nudibranchs which mimic phyllidiids.
December 20, 2001
From: John Chuk
I have been going through my slides of what I consider might be Phyllidiella pustulosa. The specimens seen in this message are all from Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. (I have sent a second message with images of P. pustulosa that I photographed in Saudi Arabia).
The appearance of the specimens is quite variable and the three images attached show the range of variation.
• 1. Is of the most common form seen. The specimen was 26mm in length and was found at 10m on the Powerhouse Reef (2/9/89).
• 2. Is of a much less common form which has fewer tubercles and is brown and black. The specimen was 35mm in length and was found at 6m in Kieta harbour (2/10/89).
• 3. Is of a pattern that I only found once in PNG but it is the same pattern that I found on all specimens in the Red Sea. This specimen was 15mm in length and was found at 8m on the Powerhouse Reef (25/3/89).
I'm not at all sure that all are P. pustulosa as I find it almost impossible to identify them with any accuracy from a slide alone. At the time I took very basic data of the specimens I encountered. Now, thanks to the Sea Slug Forum, I am much more aware of what to look for!
Chuk, J., 2001 (Dec 20) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Papua New Guinea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5833
I think these are all P. pustulosa. The one on Photo 3 has a hint of the rings of Phyllidiella annulata but that seems to occur sometimes in P. pustulosa.
December 20, 2001
From: John Chuk
As a comparison to the images I sent of specimens from Papua New Guinea here are images of what I think is Phyllidiella pustulosa from the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. Interestingly all the specimens that I found in Saudi Arabia had the same basic pattern. The only difference was in colour.
1. Is of a specimen 27mm in length found at 10m at Albilad Beach in Jeddah (26/11/93).
2A & 2B. Are views of a pale specimen 30mm in length found at 2.5m on a fringing reef flat at Black Mountain, about 550km south of Jeddah (8/10/92).
Chuk, J., 2001 (Dec 20) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Saudi Arabia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5834
September 13, 2001
From: Bruce Potter
This is the first Phyllidiella rudmani I have found. This was also on the dive site known as "Wreck of the Anne" in the Russell group of the Solomon Islands.
It was at about 8 meters on mixed coral and rubble. It was about 35mm long. I guess this one is named after your own illustrious self.
firstname.lastname@example.orgPotter, B., 2001 (Sep 13) Phyllidiella rudmani? from the Solomons. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5257
Yes David Brunckhorst kindly named Phyllidiella rudmani after me but at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I wish he had chosen one that I had more confidence in identifying. There are a number of pale pinkish to white species and sometimes, ar least from photos, separating them is quite difficult. I'm afraid I don't think your animal is P. rudmani which has only two black lines on the mantle and has multicolored rhinophores, the upper half being black and the lower half pink. I suspect your animal is a strange form of Phyllidiella pustulosa with very reduced tuberculation.
May 3, 2001
From: Chris & Carol van der Pennen
We found this nudibranch on a reef off Noosa Heads, southern Queensland, Australia, and would like assistance in identifying it please.
Chris & Carol van der Pennen
email@example.com der Pennen, C. & C., 2001 (May 3) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Noosa, Qld.. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4246
Dear Chris & Carol,
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa. Have a look at the information at the top of this page and the other messages below yours for more on this species.
March 24, 2001
From: David Harasti
This phyllidiid species was found at Jervis Bay, Southern NSW, Australia at a site called Long Cave. The water temp was about 24 degrees and the animal (about 5cms long) was found in 13 metres.
This is the furthest south that I have seen a Phyllidia species. I thought they were restricted to tropical waters. I know it's hard to identify without a specimen but I thought you would find this discovery interesting.
firstname.lastname@example.orgHarasti, D., 2001 (Mar 24) Phyllidia? from Jervis Bay, Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4022
The ubiquitous Phyllidiella pustulosa is the only phyllidiid we find with any regularity in mid to southern New South Wales. I have records of it from Sydney, but your find from Jervis Bay probably extends its known distribution that much further down the east Australian coast. Interestingly this colour pattern, in which the black background is reduced to a thin black reticulation, is the usual colour form in these southerly specimens.
I see the water temp was fairly warm. As I have said elsewhere in the Forum, the New South Wales coast is an interesting mixture of temperate and tropical animals, with a fairly large group of endemic species, found only in this part of southeastern Australia. Phyllidiella pustulosa, and other tropical species, are usually not permanent members of the southern NSW fauna, but in years when south-drifting eddies of warm tropical water, laden with tropical larvae, are pushed close to shore, there is a good chance that some larval sea slugs will find a place to settle. Considering that their preferred food probably also drifted south from the tropics as larvae, successful settlement requires a lot of luck.
Thanks for letting us know of this find. It is very interesting.
February 17, 2001
From: Mary Jane Adams
I think I may have found another Phyllidiella cooraburrama in my files. I shot this one at Namena, Vitu Levu, Fiji in May, 1997. Length: 40 mm Depth not recorded. What do you think?
Thanks so much for all you have taught me about opisthobranchs. Before I started participating in the Sea Slug Forum I had no idea there were so many species. All the Phylliids looked pretty much alike to me. These warty ones do not have much personality, but now that I can see the differences in the species, I find them much more interesting. I hope my photographs can add something to their known distribution and variation. Thanks so much for your continued devotion to the Forum.
email@example.comAdams, M.J., 2001 (Feb 17) Phyllidiella cooraburrama? from Fiji. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3682
Dear Mary Jane,
Your photos are an invaluable addition to our knowledge of these animals.
Having said that, I don't know if really wanted you to have found this photo. I may be wrong, but I think it is just Phyllidiella pustulosa. It looks a bit like Phyllidiella cooraburrama but in that species the tubercles are usually single and quite pointed, while in your animal they are quite rounded and clustered in groups. Assuming the rhinophores are black, the only species that fits is P. cooraburrama.
Any views welcome. I must agree with you that phyllidiids have litle personality. They are indeed interesting, but with so few characters to go on, they can be a very frustrating group to identify.
February 9, 2001
From: A. Fahrner & M. Schrödl
Richard Willan braught our attention to Dave Harasti's phyllidiid from the Red Sea. This species certainly shows quite high tubercles as described for P. cooraburrama. However, the tubercles of P. pustulosa vary considerably in shape and size as it grows as well as between adult specimens. As long as there is no other indication (e.g. a white foot sole, see Brunckhorst, 1993) we would regard this Red Sea specimen as P. pustulosa.
Another similar species is Phyllidiopsis sinaiensis which has a more or less continuous central tubercle ridge and fused oral tentacles. We have reviewd the Red Sea phyllidiids in a recently published paper:
Fahrner, A. & Schroedl, M. 2000. Redescription of Phyllidiopsis sinaiensis (Yonow, 1988), with review of Red Sea Phyllidiidae. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 66: 467-476.
It is really striking how green the tubercles of P. pustulosa can appear even in low depths...
Michael and Alexander
firstname.lastname@example.orgFahrner, A. & Schrödl, M., 2001 (Feb 9) Re: Red Sea Phyllidiella cf. cooraburrama. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3680
Dear Michael & Alexander,
I agree with your feelings, that's why I put Dave's photo on the P. pustulosa page. However it seems the taxonomy of this group is still suffering from a shortage of material and information so I thought it was worth drawing attention to the similarity in the shape and colour of the mantle to that of P. cooraburrama.
January 31, 2001
From: Dave Harasti
Can you help identify this nudibranch for me, I think it might be Phyllidia nobilis. It was found in the Red Sea (Mid October, 2000). It was relatively common, underwater it looked to be green however on the photo's it is very pink. I'm assuming this is because of loss of colour at depth.
The two photo's were taken in about 14 metres of water, the nudibranch was found generally moving on dead coral.
email@example.comHarasti, D., 2001 (Jan 31) Phyllidiella cf. cooraburrama from Red Sea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3367
Phyllidia nobilis is now considered a synonym of the widespread Phyllidiella pustulosa. Certainly Brunckhorst in his review of the family and Yonow (1988) in her review of Red Sea species identify similar looking animals as P. pustulosa. However it looks very similar to Phyllidiella cooraburrama which is only known from a few records in the western Pacific. If it does turn out to be this species it is a major increase in its known distribution.
Unfortunately without being able to look at its foot or its anatomy, ther is no way of knowing.
January 2, 2001
I found this species at depth of 40 feets in Karang Lebar Atoll, Thousand Islands, Indonesia. I thought it is Phyllidiella pustulosa. Is that right? Many thanks.
firstname.lastname@example.orgYasman, 2001 (Jan 2) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3345
From what I can see in the photo I think these are P. pustulosa.
December 29, 2000
I wonder what species is it? It should belong to Phyllidiella. It has black rhinophore and separated oral tentacle. What do you think Bill?
email@example.comYasman, 2000 (Dec 29) Phyllidiid from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3331
I am pretty sure this is Phyllidiella pustulosa. As you know it is very variable in colour, and I think this is just part of that variation.
December 28, 2000
I am sure that all this species belong to be Phyllidiella pustulosa. What do you think?? They all have separated oral tentacle and black rhinophore. This species is very common found in my research area (Karang Lebar Atoll, Thousand Islands, Indonesia. It is found at depth of 20-50 feets, crawling on sponge.
firstname.lastname@example.orgYasman, 2000 (Dec 28) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3330
Yes this is Phyllidiella pustulosa.
October 21, 2000
From: Des Paroz
Last badly exposed photo from my Coral Sea trip. This one is particulary bad due to the dark colour of the nudi and the background, and my TTL. I think it is Phyllidiella pustulosa - can you identify it from this photo?
email@example.comParoz, D., 2000 (Oct 21) Phyllidiella pustulosa f rom Coral Sea?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3189
I'm pretty sure this is Phyllidiella pustulosa.
October 18, 2000
From: Scott Phillips
Can you ID this slug for me? It does not have the dorid type external gills, just 2 retractable stalks (soft) at the "head" end. Ive not observed it feeding on anything, but Ive had it in my reef tank for 2 months or so, and have not noticed any decline.
firstname.lastname@example.orgPhillips, S., 2000 (Oct 18) Phyllidiella in aquarium. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3184
Your animal is Phyllidiella pustulosa a dorid nudibranch which lacks the normal circle of dorsal gills found in dorids. Like all phyllidiids it also lacks radular teeth for feeding and have a specialised foregut and set of glands which reduces their food (sponges) to a liquid before they eat it. In this way they only need to suck it in. However, unless you have the right sponges in your aquarium I suspect your slug is slowly starving. The two retractable stalks at the head end are the rhinophores.
Phyllidiella pustulosa is usually pink but a green colour form is not that uncommon.
You should always treat phyllidiids in aquaria with care because they have skin glands which contain quite noxious chemicals. At times, if stressed, the glands can release their nasty load and kill everything in an aquarium. Your animal seems to be behaving quite resonably, but I wouldn't keep anything particularly special with it, just in case.
July 18, 2000
From: Aloysia Murni Shintosari
Here is a phyllidiid I found at Thousand Island, Jakarta Bay, Java, Indonesia. Could you tell me its name?
email@example.comShintosari, A.M., 2000 (Jul 18) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2724
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa. Your specimen which doesn't show much sign of the usual pink or green, has some similarities to Phyllidiella cooraburrama, but the thin marginal translucent white line is typical of P. pustulosa.
June 17, 2000
From: Scott Johnson
Digging through some more slides last night, I ran across a couple more "pink-bumped" animals to send.
The typical-looking Phyllidiella pustulosa (n001) is of interest only because it was photographed at Nauru. I
spent a few days there about 8 years ago, and it seemed not an easy place to dive, so probably few collections and observations have been made there.
The second animal, (s-ph-lpb) is from the Solomon Islands. It was a bit larger than other P. pustulosa I've seen and looked somewhat different in its distribution of pink bumps.
firstname.lastname@example.orgJohnson, S., 2000 (Jun 17) More possible Phyllidiella pustulosa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2565
I think they are both probably Phyllidiella pustulosa, but I must say the one from Nauru looks quite like Phyllidiopsis burni. I don't think there is an easy way to determine that without a look at the specimen.
June 13, 2000
From: Scott Johnson
Phyllidiella pustulosa is the most common of the phyllidiids I've found in the Marshall Islands and in Hawaii. The attached h165-2 shows a typical specimen from Hawaii, which is similar to e044-3 from the Marshalls. The specimen in e044-5 has more black and fewer pink warts, but still appears to be the same. I'm sending separately some other specimens that are more questionable, and a few of the other 'pink-warted' species as well.
Johnson, S., 2000 (Jun 13) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Hawaii and Marshall Ids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2534
Thanks for the photos. I wish it were easier to get sponges identified. In your three photos, the phyllidiid seems to be associated with the same or very similar sponge. In h165-2 and e044-5 the pale yellowish sponge to the right of the photo has the same structure as the pinkish sponge in e044-3.
It may just be coincidence, but I am sure a better knowledge of their food would help us to better understand not only their biology but their taxonomy as well.
June 13, 2000
From: Scott Johnson
The attached three animals from the Marshall Islands are all similar to Phyllidiella pustulosa, but seem a bit different, at least from typical specimens. I've been keeping them as P. pustulosa, but haven't been quite sure if that's really where they belong.
Johnson, S., 2000 (Jun 13) Phyllidiella pustulosa? from Marshall Ids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2535
I think you are right in considering these to be P. pustulosa. One interesting point is the sponge in Photo e396-3. It looks very like the one I was discussing in your earlier message with more 'typical' P. pustulosa.
April 20, 2000
From: Narongpon Sittithaweepat
I can't identify this Phyllidiopsis sp. I found it at Surin Island, Thailand, depth 50 feet.
email@example.comSittithaweepat, N., 2000 (Apr 20) Phyllidiella pustulosa from Thailand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2205
This is Phyllidiella pustulosa.
March 21, 2000
From: Erwin Koehler
Again a photo by H.-H. Harms - this one is from Indonesia, Bali Is., wreck of the "Liberty", March 1997, 10 m, size about 2 cm.
Medslugs.Koehler@t-online.deKoehler, E., 2000 (Mar 21) Phyllidiid from Indonesia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2008
I think this is a pale form of Phyllidiella pustulosa.
December 6, 1999
From: Erwin Koehler
It has ridges so it is not Phyllidiella pustulosa, which has tubercles in clusters, "amalgamated in juveniles and separated in large animals". Any other idea? I attach a rescanned larger version of the
Medslugs.Koehler@t-online.deKoehler, E., 1999 (Dec 6) Re: Phyllidiella pustulosa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1641
It certainly isn't a 'typical' P. pustulosa but of the described species it seems the only one that fits. Some of these species are not easy to separate and without a dorsal shot it is difficult to work out the pattern of lines and ridges. Also a close-up of the rhinophores so I can see the colour would certainly help determine the genera. I think the tubercles are in clusters rather than ridges, although the discussion becomes a bit semantic, because Brunckhorst used a photo of mine to illustrate variation in the species in which there was a specimen with quite distinct ridges. (See photo at top of Page). The black rhinophores, which I can see in the larger photo, are a good indication that this is a species of Phyllidiella. The only other likely identification is Phyllidiella granulata but Brunckhorst describes that species to have a grey background colour and white tubercles.
I agree that I am only guessing so if anyone has any suggestions I would be glad of them.
September 13, 1999
From: Bill Rudman
Bill Rudman.Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Sep 13) 9 species of Phyllidiella added. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1331
February 25, 1999
From: Erwin Koehler
one more from Siquijor Is., Philippines, Nov. 1998, size 3 cm. Is it Phyllidiella pustulosa - with tubercles forming a ridge?
E.Koehler@deutschepost.deKoehler, E., 1999 (Feb 25) Phyllidiella pustulosa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/614
From what I can see, I think you are right.
December 23, 1998
From: Erwin Koehler
This one is from Panglao, Philippines, dive site called "Balicasaq", size 3 cm, depth 12 m. (October 1998) I thought it is Ph. pustulosa, but the white edge of the mantle...
E.Koehler@deutschepost.deKoehler, E., 1998 (Dec 23) Phyllidiella pustulosa ? from Philippines. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/420
I think you are correct. Often (see photos at top of page) there is a white border around the edge of this species. ... Bill Rudman.
October 15, 1998
From: Tony Wright
The sample you identified for me as Phylidiella pustulosa (Cuvier,1804), from a chemical point of view was definitely feeding on the sponge in the photo I sent you. As soon as we get to know the sponge species I will let you know. We still have quite a bit more to do with the chemistry also. I will keep you up to date on this too.
Dr. Anthony D. Wright,
Technical University Braunschweig,
Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology,
D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
firstname.lastname@example.orgWright, T., 1998 (Oct 15) Phylidiella pustulosa feeding information. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/266
Thanks Tony for confirming the observation .. Bill Rudman.
May 27, 1998
From: Michael Dyck
I found these Nudibranchs around Saxon Reef, near Cairns, North Queensland. I can't find them in any of my books and I was wondering if they were common to you. The photo's aren't great so any help would be appreciated.
email@example.comDyck, M., 1998 (May 27) A Phyllidiella from Cairns. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/97
By chance yours is the second question about Phyllidiella pustulosa this week. I am pretty sure all your specimens are the same species, which as I say above is very common and ranges in colour from white to pink to green. There are a number of similarly coloured species of Phyllidiella but I would need better photos, specimens and information on such things as the colour of the head tentacles (rhinophores) to be 100% sure. .. Bill RudmanRudman, W.B., 1998 (May 27). Comment on A Phyllidiella from Cairns by Michael Dyck. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/97
May 27, 1998
From: Dr. Anthony D. Wright
Here is the animal I collected with Reticulidia halgerda. I would be grateful for an identification. It was collected at Nanu-I-Ra, inshore reef between mainland and island, Fiji, 18m, 27 January 1998. It was on, and probably feeding on, the orange sponge which I have had identified as Acanthella sp.
If I find any data that might be useful for the forum I will let you have it. At the moment we don't really have anything that is particularly relevant. As the study goes on with the two animals and sponge I will keep you posted. The result of this study will surely be of interest to some of your readers.
Cheers, and thanks for your continued help.
Dr. Anthony D. Wright,
Technical University Braunschweig,
Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology
firstname.lastname@example.orgWright, A.D., 1998 (May 27) Collected with Reticulidia halgerda. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/98
I think this is Phyllidiella pustulosa but there are a number of similarly coloured species which I can't distinguish just from the photograph. Unfortunately if the specimen is now dried and decolourised after chemical extraction, it may not help much either. Since phyllidiids don't have a radula, we don't even have this normally very useful nudibranch character to use. Thanks for the photo and the feeding information. One of the reasons for developing the Sea Slug Forum was to provide a place where this sort of biological information, which normally falls down the cracks and is lost, could accumulate. To my knowledge Acanthella has only been recorded before as the food of Phyllidia babai. To those of you who are unfamiliar with phyllidiids they are of special interest to chemists who study natural products because they secrete acrid, acidic and toxic anti-feedant chemicals from their mantle glands. It is thought that these chemicals, or precursors, are obtained from the sponges they feed on. If you try and keep phyllidiids in aquaria the chemicals they exude can kill everything else in your aquaria. Sometimes I have walked in to a closed room in which I have kept animals in aquaria overnight to be struck by an acrid atmosphere, which in some instances can cause you to catch your breath, which is caused by phyllidiid secretions escaping from the aquarium water. Such powerful chemicals are thought to be potentially valuable as antibiotics or anti-cancer agents ... Bill Rudman.Rudman, W.B., 1998 (May 27). Comment on Collected with Reticulidia halgerda by Dr. Anthony D. Wright. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/98