Chelidonura electra

Chelidonura electra Rudman, 1970

This lovely, delicate swallowtail cephalaspidean was described from the Solomon Islands by Bill Rudman. A pale white species with bright yellow parapodial, cephalic and mantle edge, it reaches 70 mm in length. A similar, but smaller and darker species is C. pallida Risbec, 1951. The latter has a black line outside of the yellow area along all edges of the body (see Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, Sp. # 530, pg. 152).

Chelidonura electra occurs in a variety of habitats, but most frequently on sandy or silty bottoms. Specimen pictured above is on Siphonogorgia coral. It feeds primarily on tiny acoel flatworms (for a description of this group see Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, pages 96-97). Its range extends from Madagascar to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Its species name, electra, after the Greek Goddess and daughter of Agamemnon, was chosen to bring attention to the aluring billiance of this elegant species.

Photo courtesy of Mary Jane Adams of Arcadia, California:

I have seen Chelidonura electra many times, but never before on such a dramatic background as seen in this pic from Paupa New Guinea. Though it is only about an inch long, it had crawled four feet up a coral tree and was feasting on the polyps.

The picture at left of Mary was taken with a 44 cm long Spanish Dancer at Beqa Lagoon, Vitu Levu, Fiji. This nudibranch, accompanied by a slighly smaller one, were regulary seen grazing between two particular bommies.

Send Mary Jane mail at mjadams@earthlink

Taxonomic information courtesy of:

David W. Behrens

Author: Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Co-Author Coral Reef Animals of the Indo Pacific
Propriator of Sea Challengers Natural History Books !

Send Dave mail at

© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 1999. All Rights Reserved.