Trapania bonellenae

Image courtesy of Ellen Muller
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Trapania bonellenae Valdés, 2009

This incredibly beautiful species was discovered by Ellen Muller in Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) in June 2007 and named in her honor and the island of Bonaire. Ellen found several specimens at different dive spots around the island, the original description has been recently published in the Caribbean Journal of Science.

Despite the substantial collecting effort all around the Caribbean during the last few decades by people like Jeff Hamann, Anne DuPont and Jesus Ortea and collaborators, no one has come across this incredible species before. This suggests that there may be many surprises still waiting for us in the Caribbean.

Trapania bonellenae is characterized by having a unique translucent grey color with a pattern of black pigment, a complex network of opaque white lines covering almost the entire notum and very elongate extra-branchial and extra-rhinophoral appendages. There are no other species of Trapania that come close to Trapania bonellenae. The species was unknown by the time of the publication of Caribbean Sea Slugs . , but it will be surely included in future editions.

Trapania bonellenae appears to feed on entoprocts, which where captured by Ellen's amazing photographic skills.


Valdés, A., J. Hamann, D.W. Behrens, and A. DuPont, 2006. Caribbean Sea Slugs A field guide to the Opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical northwestern Atlantic. Sea Challengers Natural History Books, Gig Harbor, WA. vii + 1-289.
Valdés, A. 2009. A new species of Trapania Pruvot-Fol, 1931 (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia, Nudibranchia) from the Caribbean Sea with an analysis of its phylogenetic relationships. Caribbean Journal of Science 45: 8-14.

Ángel A. Valdés
Department of Biological Sciences
California State Polytechnic University
3801 W. Temple Ave.
Pomona, California 91768-4032
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Ellen Muller

Ellen Muller moved from the US to Bonaire in 1980. She didn't pick up an underwater camera until 2001 when she became instantly hooked on underwater photography. Being able to dive almost daily in Bonaire provides many opportunities to document the amazing diversity of marine life in Bonaire's waters. Her passion is being able to share with others, through her underwater photography, some of the incredible underwater creatures she is fortunate enough to encounter on a regular basis. Ellen has photographed many unusual, rare and unique creatures and recorded previously unknown behaviors, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of the fascinating underwater world.

Ellen is currently using a Canon G10 and WP-DC28. To see more of Ellen's underwater photos, go here...

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From left to right, Terry Gosliner, Angel Valdes, Dave Behrens La Jolla, Calif.

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