Tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Inset showing spiculate tubercles around the mantle edge. PHOTO: Anthony Healy.
Formerly known as Trippa intecta. See message
This widespread Indo-West Pacific species is usually dark brown with a lighter coloured brownish white line down the dorsal midline on a raised tuberculate crest. Other compound tubercles are scattered over the rest of the mantle. The tip of the tubercles have pointed spicules giving the skin a rough texture. There are usually microscopic white spots scattered over the mantle, gills and rhinophores. Juveniles are often a much paler colour. Grows to 80mm.
• Kelaart, E.F. (1858). Description of new and little known species of Ceylon nudibranchiate molluscs and zoophytes. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,
Columbo, 3(1): 84-139.
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (August 23) Atagema intecta (Kelaart, 1858b). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/tripinte
December 17, 2008
From: Melanie Wood
I believe this is Atagema intecta? I found it extremely well hidden with a black sponge of which I also photographed. I placed it in a small puddle of water but it didn't want to come out to play. I also have a picture of the underside. Could you please confirm (or deny) the ID?
Locality: Rowes Bay, Townsville, Low Tide 0.47 metres, Queensland, Australia, 9 September 2007, Intertidal muddy. Length: 7 cm. Photographer: Melanie Wood.
Wood, M.J., 2008 (Dec 17) Atagema intecta? from Townsville, Qld. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/20723
This is most probably Atagema intecta but I can't see enough detail to be sure. Certainly the colour is about right.
May 28, 2007
From: Carol Wallace
Concerning message #18665:
I was just wondering how common the Atagema intecta is around Sydney. I saw one of them today at Bare Island, the water it was in was only about 16 degrees, don't they prefer warm water??
Locality: Bare Island, 7 metres, NSW, Pacific Ocean, 18 January 2007. Length: 40 mm. Photographer: Carol Wallace.
firstname.lastname@example.orgWallace, C.E, 2007 (May 28) Re: Atagema intecta from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/19269
Yes this is A. intecta. It is basically a common tropical species but is not that uncommon at least as far down the east Australian coast as Sydney. During January the water temperature was fluctuating rather crazily down the east coast so this animal probably travelled south as a veliger larva in quite balmy weather. Most of these tropical visitors seem to be able to survive cooler temperatures than they are used to for some time, but I don't know of any studies that have been done to show just how long they can survive and breed in cooler than normal temperatures, or just what are their lower limits.
December 1, 2006
From: Sean McMahon
Here is a pic of a nudibranch photographed at Oak Park , Cronulla, Sydney recently. I'm not sure what it is.
Locality: Reef off Oak Park , Cronulla, 7.5 meters, NSW, Australia, Tasman Sea, 2 October 2006, on rocky reef. Photographer: Sean McMahon.
email@example.comMcMahon, S.P, 2006 (Dec 1) Atagema intecta from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/18665
This is a tropical visitor, Atagema intecta, which we sometimes find this far down the east Australian coast. The dirty white line down the median ridge between the gills and the rhinophores is a good way of distingusihing it from other brownish dorid nudibranchs you may come across.
August 12, 2006
From: Dong Bum Koh
I have just got some photos of a nudibranch predator from Ok Soo Kim.
This scene is Atagema intecta being swallowed by the voracious nemertean worm, Lineus fuscoviridis, in Korea.
Locality: Ul Jin, Gyung Book Prov., -14m, South Korea, East Sea, 02 August 2006, --. Length: --. Photographer: Ok Soo Kim.
Dong Bum Koh
D.B.Koh, 2006 (Aug 12) Predator of nudibranchs - again. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/17404
For those of you unfamiliar with Dong Bum Koh's earlier message with spectacular photos of this worm eating Aplysia parvula, you should have a look [#13659]. It is certainly a fearsome predator.
March 14, 2001
From: Erik Schloegl
Thanks for your ID of T. intecta. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly what size it was, though I would say that it was longer than 2cm, perhaps not by much.
It's certainly interesting how much variation there is within a species of nudibranch, not just T. intecta, but also many others. The fact that you put all the photos you get up on the site makes it a great resource for identifying slugs (better than any book), as one can see the many different colour forms and shapes.
Erik.Schlogl@uts.edu.auSchloegl, E., 2001 (Mar 14) Re: Trippa intecta from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3979
Just a warning though, I am not infallible. Working just from photos can sometimes be a trap. I am pretty sure your animal is Trippa intecta but think of it is more as an hypothesis rather than a proof.
March 10, 2001
From: Erik Schloegl
Here's another nudibranch I've been unable to identify. The photo was taken on the same night dive (at Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour) as the one of Dendrodoris fumata which you kindly identified for me. Depth was 4m, substrate was rocky reef.
Erik.Schlogl@uts.edu.auSchloegl, E., 2001 (Mar 10) Trippa intecta from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3925
I presume this is quite small (2 cm long perhaps?). I think it is Trippa intecta, which when small are sometimes very pale in colour and don't have the narrow white ridge down the middle of the mantle. The shape of the tubercles which I have displayed enlarged in an inset on you photo look very like the tubercles of T. intecta.
February 24, 2001
From: David Harasti
This species was found at North Solitary Island - nthn New South Wales, Australia in about 10 metres of water. It was about 7-8 cms long and 3-4 cms wide. I am unable to identify this species, could you please help. My apologies for the poor photo quality.
firstname.lastname@example.orgHarasti, D., 2001 (Feb 24) Unknown from Solitary Islands. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/3852
This is Trippa intecta. The dark brown body with compound tubercles and a pale whitish brown median ridge are quite characteristic of this species.
February 7, 2000
From: David Freemantle
I recently found a Trippa intecta in Fremantle South (Perth) and my query is regarding it's distribution. In "Sea Slugs of W.A" the animals southern distribution limit is noted as the Abrolhos islands, however I have been told that the Leeuwin current is much stronger this year, or is this species usually found this far south? The water temperature is 24 degrees.
Hope this info is of some use
email@example.comFreemantle, D., 2000 (Feb 7) Trippa intecta in Western Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1851
Published distributions of organisms, especially marine organisms, shouldn't be considered to be 'limits'. They usually reflect our knowledge of the animal's distribution, which itself may be very limited. Although there are physical and physiological barriers which do restrict the distribution of organisms, in the case of most tropical Indo-West Pacific species, like Trippa intecta, we can sometimes expect to find them way outside their normal range. On the Australian west coast, the southerly Leuwin Current, as you mention, changes from year to year, some years even sending eddies far around the southern Australian coast to South Australia. I wouldn't be surprised if Trippa intecta turned up in South Australia on the odd occasion.
At Long Reef, Sydney, in temperate eastern Australia, we have records of 40 or more species of living cowry shells (Cypraea spp), which would make you think Sydney was in the centre of the tropics. However these records have been built up over 100 years, and they are all fairly rare occurrences. It's nice to know of these 'extra-limital' finds but on both the east and west coasts of Australia there is a very broad buffer zone where the tropical and temperate faunas mix to varying degrees each year.
Bill Rudman.Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Feb 7). Comment on Trippa intecta in Western Australia by David Freemantle. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1851
November 25, 1999
From: Vinka Stenhouse
Here is Trippa intecta from Espiritu Santo Is., Vanuatu, 1997. It was 30mm long and photographed at night in 1m.
PHOTO: J.K. Stenhouse.
The photo shows the characteristic spiculate tubercles (caryophyllidia) on the mantle, very clearly. Note how the darker basal spicules radiate out into the surrounding mantle tissue.
November 24, 1999
From: Des Paroz
Just a quick note to let you know that I spotted another Trippa intecta last Saturday (19/11/99). Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, however I am positive about the identification, as the markings were very similar to those on the previous specimen that I photographed.
Interestingly, this sighting was made at the same site as the previous one, Martin Island off Wollongong, NSW, only a short distance from the spot where the other was spotted.
Major differences were the depth (this one was found in about 18m), and water temp - it was a lovely 18C last Saturday.
This one was under a crevice, crawling on a sea squirt.
Hope this info is somehow useful.
firstname.lastname@example.orgParoz, D., 1999 (Nov 24) Trippa intecta from New South Wales. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1581
Thanks for the information. Every little bit helps.
September 21, 1999
From: Erik Schloegl
Here's another photo of Trippa intecta supporting the notion that it can survive quite well in the warm temperate waters around Sydney. The photo was taken in August (winter!) 1998 at Inscription Point, Botany Bay, Sydney, at a depth of about 8m, on sponge-covered rocky substrate.T. intecta is hard to spot, but I've seen it several times at various sites around Sydney.
email@example.comSchloegl, E., 1999 (Sep 21) Re: Trippa intecta from New South Wales. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1354
August 24, 1999
From: Des Paroz
Took this photo of a nudibranch that I've never seen before. Could you help me in identifying it? I've tried the WA, Coleman and Debelius books, and can't find anything (although I may not be looking hard enough).
The slug was seen on the SE-corner wall of Martin Island, off Wollongong, New South Wales, 6 August 1999, in a depth of 25m. Time of day was about 9.00am, water temp was 16C, and visibiliy was about 8-10m.
Appreciate your assistance.
firstname.lastname@example.orgParoz, D., 1999 (Aug 24) Trippa intecta from New South Wales. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1216
This is Trippa intecta. One reason its hard to find in books is that it is very difficult to photograph, the dark brown colour making it a photographer's curse and a photographic shopkeeper's dream.
The photograph I have put at the top of the page is slightly overexposed, which allows you to see some of the detail of the animal's shape. Trippa intecta is essentially a tropical animal so finding it in the warm temperate waters of Wollongong, New South Wales, far south of the tropics is unusual, but reflects the ability of planktonic larvae to travel considerable distances, and survive, if the physical conditions are favourable.