Chelidonura pallida

Photo courtesy of Marc Chamberlain
Photo taken at Komodos Islands National Park, Indonesia
Oct. 2003

Chelidonura pallida Risbec, 1951

One of the more handsome species of Chelidonura, this species is similar in coloration to Chelidonura electra , but with black markings on the body. Some authors have referred to members of this genus as the swallowtail head shield slugs. This somewhat cumbersome common name does draw attention however, to typical head shield which all cephalaspids have and the genus' characteristic long split in the tail, the left branch of which is always longer than the right branch.

Like other Chelidonura, C. pallida feed on tiny acoel flatworms, which live on almost every coral reef substrate. Chelidonura "smell" or sense their flatworm prey with a pair of round, bristle covered lobes on either side of the head. These sensory lobes are used also to find potential mates and when tailing other individuals, a common behavior for members of this genus.

This species reaches about 50 mm in length and has been documented from Malaysia, western Australia, Fiji, New Guinea, Indonesia and New Caledonia and the Kerama Islands of Japan.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Mar. 2004

Marc Chamberlain is by vocation a neurologist and by avocation a wildlife photographer. He enjoys traveling during which he is always toting cameras. His diving holidays have been to the Carribean, up and down the west coast of the Americas and throughout the Indo-Pacific. His photographs have appeared in numerous magazines including: National Geographic; International and National Wildlife; Ocean Realm; Outside; and various Cousteau Societypublications. Marc has collaborated on several books including Nudibranchs of the Pacific Coast. Marc was also San Diego Underwater Photographic Society Photographer of the Year six times during the time he lived in the San Diego County area. Marc has participated in thirteen consecutive San Diego Underwater Society Film Festivals which has to be a club record!

Marc has been very generous in his contribution of images to the Slug Site through the years. Since the Site's inception in Nov. 1995, Marc enjoys the number one position of having either collarborated on or contributed the most images on the Slug Site!

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Taxonomic information courtesy of:

David W. Behrens

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

Send Dave mail at

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