Peltodoris rubra

Photo courtesy of Webmaster
Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Sept. 2002

Peltodoris rubra (Bergh, 1905)

Well just when you get cocky and think you have finally figured all this nudibranch taxonomy and phylogeny stuff out, along comes one like Mr. Peltodoris rubra. Thanks to the patient efforts of others like Bill Rudman and Terry Gosliner we can follow the treacherous nomenclatural journey this species has taken and use the correct name the next time we come across it.

Figure 7
Since its description by Rudolph Bergh in his 1905 Siboga Report, the name has been in utter confusion. The original manuscript used the name Discodoris rubra in the caption to Plate 1 (the drawing of the animal) and in a Corrigenda [correction footnote] at the end of the publication. However in the descriptive text on page 104 of the monograph the author refers to the species as Discodoris ? sibogae Bgh, n.sp. Taf. 1, Fig. 8. Taf. XIV. Fig. 11-14. Thank goodness for the Corrigenda [p248] which corrects this typographical error in the text by saying that - Discodoris ? sibogae Bgh is really Discodoris rubra Bgh, shown in figures Taf. 1. Fig. 7, and NOT Fig 8. Figure 8 " what??? " When did figure 8 come into the picture?

Figure 8
With Figure 8, matters worsen, as the Corrigenda goes on in this correction to say Taf. XIV. Fig. 11-14. Taf. 1. Fig 8 is a figure of Discodoris ? sibogae . Okay, Fig 7 is D. rubra and Fig 8 is D. sibogae . Now that's fine, but today we considered what Bergh was describing as Discodoris sibogae to be a color variant of Platydoris scabra , a species in another genus.

Are you with me? Let's go on. Then our buddy Terry Gosliner comes along and points out that Discodoris rubra Bergh, 1905 should probably be considered as a Peltodoris , since it lacks jaw plates, a key differentiation between the two genera. Okay, so now its name is Peltodoris rubra . Then Terry suggests that Archidoris hawaiiensis (notice again a completely new genus to this taxonomic conundrum) described by Kay and Young in 1970 is a junior synonym of P. rubra .

I don't know about you, but I am thinking its getting late for this kind of a discussion.

I won't even try to guess the species distribution until we can combine the data for various names. One can surmise that, at a minimum, it occurs in Indonesia and Hawaii.


Bergh, L.S.R. (1905) Die Opisthobranchia. Siboga Expedition Monograph, 50: 1-248, Pls 1-20.

Kay, E.A. & Young, D.K. (1969) The Doridacea (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science, 23(2): 172-231.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Nov. 2002

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 !

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