Tambja zulu
Pola, Cervera & Gosliner, 2005

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Nembrothinae


Known only from Indian Ocean coast of South Africa.


Hibberdene, South coast KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 20 m. 35 mm long Jan 1999. Photo: Valda Fraser

The background colour of the body is dark blue or black and there are a pattern of thin yellow longitudinal lines. One of these lines forms a border to the mantle around the anterior part of head, and down each side to join behind the gills in the posterior midline. Another pair of longitudinal lines, border the rhinophoral  pockets and then run back to finish at the outside edge of the gill pocket. Between these two lines on each side is a shorter line running from about halfway between the gills and the rhinophores, back to the gills. A similar line runs down each side of the foot joining above the mouth anteriorly, and in the posterior midline, posteriorly.
The oral tentacles, rhinophores and rhinophoral sheaths are dark blue or black, but the edge of the rhinophore pocket is edged in yellow. There are five non-retractile tripinnate gills forming a  semicircle . They are black with a narrow yellow line up both the outer and inner sides of the rachis. The only information we have on the size of this species is Valda Fraser's photo here of a 35 mm long specimen.

Note: This species was previously known on the Forum as Tambja sp. 3.

  • Gosliner, T. (1987) Nudibranchs of Southern Africa.
  • Pola, M., Cervera, J.L. & Gosliner, T. (2005) Four new species of Tambja Burn, 1962 (Nudibranchia: Polyceridae) from the Indo-Pacific. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 71: 257-267
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (August 15) Tambja zulu Pola, Cervera & Gosliner, 2005. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/tambzulu

Related messages

Tambja sp. from South Africa

July 28, 2000
From: Valda Fraser

Note added 16 August 2005: This species is now named Tambja zulu.

Dear Bill
I think this may be Roboastra luteolineata. I look forward to hearing your opinion.
Locality: South coast KwaZulu-Natal SOUTH AFRICA. Hibberdene - 20m
Date: Jan 1999
Size: 35mm

Valda Fraser


Fraser, V., 2000 (Jul 28) Tambja sp. from South Africa. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2271

Dear Valda,
It looks a bit like the animal Terry Gosliner identifies in Nudibranchs of Southern Africa as Roboastra luteolineata but it is Photo 184, on the same page in his book, which is an unnamed species of Tambja. It is very distinctive in having the greenish yellow lines along the gills.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jul 28). Comment on Tambja sp. from South Africa by Valda Fraser. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2271