Nembrotha sp.

Photo courtesy of Carole Harris and Leon Betts

Nembrotha sp.

The members of the genus Nembrotha are among my very favorite dorid nudibranchs. Here's a brand new find from the land of "Down Under." Carole and Leon spotted this beauty a few years ago, near a wreck at Yacaaba Head in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, Australia. There were 2 of them feeding on some purple colonial seasquirts (looking like large lollypops on sticks) Carole, the sweetheart that she is, gives all her new finds nicknames based on body characteristics, so she can avoid the burdensome use (as she calls it) of polynomial Anglo-Saxon derivatives. Carole's handle for this Nembrotha is the "donut dorid", obviously derived for the large pink donut rings distributed over the body. (It also makes it easier for her to classify and file her slides since there are so many unnamed nudis!).

There seem to be many undescribed nembrotha's out there today, Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum species list currently contains 9 new unknown species. My colleague, Terry Gosliner and I have recently described three new species, all from the Philippines - Nembrotha milleri (named for webmaster Miller), N. mullineri and N. chamberlaini.

Carole and Leon's olive green species shown here, with its distinctive pink donut spots, pink banded rhinophoral stalks and pink high-lighted gills, is absolutely different from any species we are aware of. It is surprising that the animal has gone undiscovered as this specimen was very large, measuring approx 140mm in length.

The locals in the area have been placed on alert but no further sightings of this beauty have been made. Those of you diving these waters, keep your eyes open.


Gosliner, T.M. & Behrens, D.W. 1997. Description of four new species of phanerobranch dorids from the Indo-Pacific, with a redescription of Gymnodoris aurita (Gould,1852). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 49(9): 287-308.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Apr. 2001

Carole and Leon live in the United Arab Emirates and have been diving for over 13 years. One of Carole's favourite photography subject is nudibranchs, because as she says, she is almost guaranteed to get a fairly decent shot! Living in the UAE has proved to be a most diverse and unexpected smorgasboard of offerings from a wide range of unusual nudis to robust ghostpipefish, pipehorse, pygmy sea moths, hammerheads, and recently a pygmy sperm whale.

Carole is currently working on a UAE dive guide book which is expected to be published in December... Includes details of the most dived locations, colour photographs and dive-site maps.

She is also a very active member in the Emirates Environmental Group, promoting underwater awareness to its members and the public alike and has struck up a friendship with a reporter who shares the same environmental eagerness and helps to highlight these matters in the local newspapers.

Send Carol and Leon email at

Taxonomic information courtesy of Dave Behrens

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

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