Glossodoris rubroannulata

Image courtesy of Dave Mullins
Gneering Shoals, Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia.
Canon G10 in Ikelite housing with one Inon Z220 strobe
Copyright 2011, Dave Mullins

Glossodoris rubroannulata with egg coil

Glossodoris rubroannulata Rudman, 1986

A large nudibranch (up to 90 mm) of the Chromodorididae family, Glossodoris rubroannulata is another of the group that seems to have a Coral Sea distribution only, being reported from New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island and the east coast of Australia. It has been most commonly sighted in Queensland, Australia. A couple of sightings have been reported from Indonesia but it is interesting to note that those specimens seem to either lack the distinctive submarginal red line upon the mantle and foot or at best it is very diffuse. The smooth central mantle is an apricot colour and the mantle margin is yellow with concentric submarginal bands of red then white on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces. The colour pattern of the mantle margin is repeated upon the edge of the foot with the remainder of the sides of the foot being white. The mantle edge is extremely convoluted. The lamellate rhinophores have a red stalk and brown clavus with a white streak up both the anterior and posterior axes. The rhinophoral pocket is edged in white. The gills are simple but long and large in number, 19 to 22 being the most often quoted numbers and are spirally arranged around the anus. The gills are translucent white with red axes and white tips. The gill pocket is also rimmed in white. When the animal is crawling and the gills are fully extended they can be seen to be constantly twitching.

The mantle glands discharge a large amount of white noxious fluid when the animal is sufficiently irritated as a defense against predators.

The spawn is laid as a spiral ribbon and is cream coloured with bright yellow spots of extra-capsular yolk.

We have recorded that Glossodoris rubroannulata preys upon a different family of sponge to that of all other species of its genus.

Our discoveries of the natural history of Glossodoris rubroannulata here in Southern Queensland appear to contradict the known information of the Glossodoris genus in general in that the free edge of the spawn coil is longer leading to an outwardly sloped coil, the spawn contains extra-capsular yolk and the sponge species we have observed it feeding upon belongs to a different family to that of the Thorectidae family upon which most Glossodorids feed. Our observations have led to some authorities to consider the possibility that Glossodoris rubroannulata, regardless of its "typical" appearance, may not be a Glossodoris at all.

Altogether this is a large, beautiful and vibrantly coloured nudibranch unpredictably encountered but not uncommon in our area. It is a true delight to find and photograph.


Willan & Coleman 1984. Nudibranchs of Australia, Neville Coleman, AMPI, Sydney.
Marshall & Willan 1999. Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Backhuys Publishers.
Wilson N. 2002. Egg Masses of Chromodorid Nudibranchs, Malacologia, 2002,44(2): 289-305.
Cobb & Willan 2006. Undersea Jewels, ABRS, Canberra
Rudman & Bergquist 2007. A review of feeding specificity in the sponge-feeding Chromodorididae, Molluscan Research 27(2): 60-88
Mullins D. (Message in) & Rudman W. (Comment) 2007. Glossodoris rubroannulata - natural history. Sea Slug Forum, Australian Museum, Sydney.
Glossodoris rubroannulata Natural History (1)
Glossodoris rubroannulata Natural History (2)
Glossodoris rubroannulata More Pics Spawning
Glossodoris rubroannulata More Pics Feeding

Dave Mullins
Queensland, Australia
Aug., 2011
Send Dave email at

Gary Cobb and Dave Mullins
on location in Queensland, Australia


A dedicated Nudibranch Identification Guide has been developed for the iPhone. Capitalizing on the popularity, ease of use and high-resolution touch screen of the iPhone, this innovative field guide does not require access to the carrier network or Internet.

The first in this series of iPhone Apps, with 700 species of Nudibranch (Sea Slug) from the Central Indo-Pacific Region where marine diversity is at its greatest are represented with stunning photographs sourced from 50 underwater photographers from around the globe, has already been released and has proven extremely popular.

Dedicated diver, underwater photographer and art director Gary Cobb of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia has devoted over 8 years to his passion for these amazingly diverse and alluring creatures.

I wanted to tackle the challenge of adding to our Nudibranch research and website by way of the new iPhone App technology but also expanding our finds to cover the entire World Gary said. In this way exceptional field guides are produced whereby the user can check off species and create their own lists. He and David Mullins dive up to 4 times a week, weather permitting, and have catalogued in their local area, 466 species. First I had to learn how to build with this new iPhone App technology, and then contact the photographers to request permission to use their images. The result was overwhelming. For people who appreciate these creatures the App couldn't come soon enough.

Photographers who have donated their images are acknowledged on the Info page and on all photos.

The second App in the series is under development and soon marine scientists, naturalists, students, divers and the world-wide community of Nudibranch enthusiasts will be able to view 426 species that live in the East Pacific region from Alaska to the tip of Chile.

All of the Apps include amazing color photographs, essential facts, scientific names, author and date, scientific classification, size and colors. The Facts page lists the orders and the Families page the families, with a description of what makes each unique.

This is an Identification Guide by Nudibranch lovers for Nudibranch lovers.

Features of the East Pacific App:

1. Nudibranch Facts - Information about Nudibranchs, what they are and what makes them so interesting and unique in the underwater world.

2. Species - An alphabetical listing of 427 species of Nudibranch to be found in the East Pacific Region in a scrollable index that provides access to individual species pages containing a large photo and information about the selected species.

3. Families - Descriptions of the 56 Families represented in this App providing external morphology information that allows comparison and contrast between the Families.

4. Images - The Images Gallery is a scrollable screen of Nudibranch thumbnails. They are presented 4 across the screen providing 24 "at a glance" images.

5. Search - Full search ability. The search capability of this App is both convenient and comprehensive. The search is species centric displaying a list of Species in response to the search input based upon any of Order, Family, Genus, Author, Date, Size, Color, Checked off species or even just a Species name.

6. Information - About the App and tips on how to get the most out it as well as tips on getting the best search and acknowledgments.

7. The ability to check (tick) off Species and to be able to email the List.

8. Navigation around the App is extremely fast, logical and intuitive.

The East Pacific App is a stand alone Application built for the Apple iPhone and does not require an Internet connection. It will be purchased for $8.99 from the iTunes App store when completed.

The photographers name will be placed on the Photo and name in the Contributing Photographers list of the Info view plus a Free App. The list of photos still needed is about 100. Nearly there. Lores photos are fine minimum size is 400x400 pixels. Photos must show the entire animal and be of good clarity. Also some screen shots to choose from.

East Pacific Species photos still needed:

Aeolidia collaris
Alderia modesta
Armina cuvieri
Ascobulla californica
Cadlina magellanica
Doris claurina
Eubranchus agrius
Eubranchus fuegiensis
Facelina cyanella (valid?)
Flabellina cerverai
Glossodoris punctilucens
Hancockia schoeferti
Janolus chilensis
Kaloplocamus maculatus
Marionia tedi
Mexichromis tica
Okenia luna
Peltodoris rosae
Phidiana mariadelmarae
Phidiana patagonica
Phylliroe bucephala
Platydoris peruviana
Sakuraeolis enosimensis
Tergipes valentini
Thorunna talaverai
Cuthona georgiana
Cuthona odhneri
Tritonia eriosi
Tritonia papalotla

Gary is currently working on Four (4) new Nudibranch ID Apps which together will cover the entire world. For more information see the Nudibranch ID App website at,
or send Gary email at

The 12 Annual San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition is set for Friday and Saturday evenings, September 9 and 10, 2011 7:00 pm at Irwin M Jacobs' Qualcomm Hall.

Thirty-two short underwater films, produced by leading professional and amateur videographers from around the world, will be highlighted at the 12 Annual San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition in Irwin M Jacobs' Qualcomm Hall big screen auditorium!

Starting at 7:00 pm, each evening will feature 16 different films, most in high definition, limited to 5 minutes each of fast-paced action. A state-of-the-art digital projection system will bring the world beneath the surface to the eyes of the audience.

This exhibition is unique because there are no entry fees and no prizes, except for the prestige of having a film chosen. An independent panel of three distinguished judges will select the best films among many international entries.

Each year the bar is raised in terms of quality and excitement. From the kelp forests of California to the coral islands of Indonesia, from the sperm whales of the Caribbean to the mantas of the Maldives, there will be something for everybody.

Also shown for the first time will be the winner of Capture the World, an international video competition. Tickets are available for $15 per evening online at SDUFEX . SDUFEX is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Birch Aquarium , San Diego Coastkeeper, and the Chula Vista Nature Center. Previous shows have been sellouts, so get your tickets early. A limited number of tickets may be available at the gate.

Seating is open, and doors open 30 minutes prior to the show. Parking is free on the Qualcomm campus. Further information is available online at Contact information: Pete Fowler, Mary Lynn Price , or Eric Hanauer .

A Film Trailer of the forthcoming event is now up on YOU Tube !

Send Pete email at
Send Mary Lynn email at
Send Eric email at

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

Send Dave email at

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