Noumea catalai

Photo courtesy of Jean-François Herve
Wreck of the Dieppoise
Noumea, French New Caledonia

Noumea catalai Rudman, 1990

Just when you thought that I had seen every species of Chromodorid in the world, another new one pops up. This week we feature what appears to be a Bill Rudman species of Noumea from Noumea, New Caledonia.

What a beauty. Aside from a somewhat similar looking critter on page 84 of Neville Coleman’s 1001 Nudibranchs , photographed in Lesser Sundra Island, Indonesia, I was completely unaware of this magnificent animal. Special thanks to Jean-François Hervé for bringing this species to our attention.

There is no miss identifying this species with its pure, snow-white notum, with the blood red dashes. With yellow rhinophores and pink gill, it certainly meets the criteria of an aposomatic species, suggesting to predators that it is toxic if tasted. I wonder if the two tears in the mantle came from such a curious taster.

Aside from Jean’s photo above, all we now about this species is that it is small, only about 12mm in length, and lives on a yellow sponge, in depths of about 25 feet.

Incidentally, if you are interested in other species from New Caledonia, please visit Jean-François's web site devoted to New Caledonian nudibranchs .

Thanks Jean-François.


Rudman, W.B. 1995. The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: further species from New Caledonia and the Noumea romeri colour group. Molluscan Research, 16: 1-43 [illustrations on CD-ROM].

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Nov. 2004

Jean-François Herve is a practicing head and neck surgeon in the Noumea Hospital (Noumea, New Caledonia) for the past 3 years. He began diving in New Caledonia back in 2000. Jean-François is beginning to prepare for his Dive Master certification. He is fascinated by seaslugs, telling us his favorite hobby is looking for nudibranchs in the largest lagoon in the world with the help of his digital camera (Sony DSCP 10, 5 Megapixels).

Send Jean-François email at

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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