North Island of New Zealand
Poor Knights Islands, NE New Zealand, 9 December, 2001, approx 5m deep. Approx 10mm. Photo: Gareth Jones.
Powell illustrates this as having a green background colour but Willan & Morton (1984) describe it as a:
'sooty black slug ... with about 8 greyish tufts arising fromn the keeled notal margin. .. rhinophoral sheaths are large simple-margined and cup the orange-red, highly subdivided rhinophoral clavi. Back and sides bear low, whitish pustules. Oral veil bilobed, and not fimbriated as in other Tritonia species.'
It grows to about 12mm, and is found from the intertidal to 12m throughout the North Island of New Zealand. It is appears to be uncommon and nothing is known of its biology.
• Powell, A. W. B. (1937). New species of nudibranchiate mollusca from Auckland waters. Records of the Auckland Museum & Institute, 2(2): 119-124, pl. 30.
• Willan, R. C. & Morton, J. E. (1984) Marine Molluscs. Part 2. Opisthobranchia. Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 106pp.
Rudman, W.B., 2001 (December 12) Tritonia flemingi (Powell, 1937). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/tritflem
June 13, 2006
From: Ian Skipworth
Here's Tritonia flemingi which I found yesterday at the Poor Knights Islands in nthn New Zealand.
Again, I've not seen one of these before so was pleased to add it to my collection of slug photos.
Although hard to see I'm pretty sure I saw it munch on a tiny octocoral polyp while I was watching it.
Locality: Poor Knights Islands, 14m, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, 10 June 2006, Rocky reef. Length: 15mm. Photographer: Ian Skipworth.
email@example.comSkipworth, I.R., 2006 (Jun 13) Tritonia flemingi from Poor Knights Islands, N.Z.. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16856
Thanks for this excellent find. As I have mentioned before, there are few records of this apparently small species. Apart from Powell's original description in 1937, and Gareth Jones's earlier message [#5828] on the Forum, the only other definite record I can find is a mention by Richard Willan (Willan & Morton, 1984) that he had found specimens in Wellington. Your photo gives us an excellent idea of the colour pattern and shape of the living animal. Looking at you photo I can see a small octocoral colony which I have ringed in the close-up alongside. As you suspect it is most probably its food.
December 14, 2001
From: Gareth Jones
Hello again Dr. Rudman.
I found this animal at the Poor Knights Islands [NE New Zealand] on the 9 December, 2001 at around 5m deep. It was about 10mm. Any help with ID appreciated as always.
firstname.lastname@example.orgJones, G., 2001 (Dec 14) Tritonia flemingi from New Zealand. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5828
This is quite an interesting find. It is Tritonia flemingi which is known only from a few collecting records around the North Island. In many of Powell's books there is a painting of this species as a green animal with white markings, but it seems that is either an inaccurate colour illustration or else Powell's sole specimen was an aberrant colour pattern. We know nothing abouts its biology. I presume that like all tritoniids it feeds and lives on a similarly coloured soft coral. So it may be worth keepig an eye out for it. If you can find its food it may turn out to be more common than we think.