Unknown nudibranch from Sulawesi

August 31, 2005
From: Cor Bosman

Note added 12 March 2008: This species has been named Trapania scurra 

I found this nudibranch during a night dive at Wakatobi, South East Sulawesi, on August 28 2005.

Locality: Wakatobi Resort, Tomia Island Group, South East Sulawesi, Banda Sea. Indonesia. Depth: 60 feet. Length: 1 inch. 28 August 2005. Rubble, Coral Heads. Photographer: Cor Bosman

The area is a sandy/rubble bottom with coral heads. This nudibranch was located at the bottom of one of the coral heads, a few inches from the sand. It was on top of a tunicate. On the tunicate were some eggs. It was unclear if the nudibranch was eating the eggs or tunicate, or just passing by (see photo). None of the dive guides had ever seen this nudibranch, or even anything similar. I can't find it in any of the books.

Can you help identify it?
Cor Bosman


Bosman, Cor, 2005 (Aug 31) Unknown nudibranch from Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/14652

Dear Cor,
This is a very interesting find. It is an unnamed species of Trapania which is on the Forum as Trapania sp 6. What is particularly exciting is that in Takako Uno's earlier message [#8262] he reports it crawling on a white ascidian and eating bryozoans living on the ascidian. The 'bryozoans' are in fact a species of the small phylum Kamptozoa [= Entoprocta] which we know from many examples on the Forum is the food of most species of Trapania. The 'eggs' you mention are in fact a dense colony of these kamptozoa. I have added a couple of elargements of your photo to show the kamptozoans in more detail. You will see they have a long stalk and a cup-shaped body with a black sphere at the base of the cup. In the photo alongside it looks like the Trapania as eaten the kamptozoa off a section od the ascidian in the foreground. Although a statistician wouldn't like the sample size, it looks like this species of Trapania has an association with a species of kamptozoa which lives on an ascidian. Very interesting!
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Aug 31). Comment on Unknown nudibranch from Sulawesi by Cor Bosman. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/14652


Trapania scurra

Related messages

  1. Re: Trapania scurra from Japan
    From: Ayumi Murakami, September 21, 2009
  2. Trapania sp. 6 from Philippines
    From: Jeff Rosenfeld, August 31, 2005
  3. Trapania sp. 6 from Borneo
    From: Robert Borzymek, April 25, 2003
  4. Is this a new species of Trapania?
    From: Takako Uno, October 28, 2002

Show factsheet and all related messages