Trapania sp.

Image courtesy of Jim Black
Photo taken at 97 ft in Wodong Bay, near Maumere, Flores, Indonesia
Nikon D-300 in Subal Housing with Ikelite strobes.
Copyright 2011, Jim Black

Trapania sp. (undescribed)

In their sensational paper published in 2008, Drs. Terry Gosliner and Shireen Fahey described some 12 new species of Trapania, from the Indo-Pacific. Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs includes seven additional species that are yet named. Jim's species here may represent a color variation of our Trapania sp. 7.

This story unfolds in August 2010 when the Webmaster (Mike Miller) was the guest of Marissa Florirendo and Tet Lara at Pearl Farm Resort, Davao, Mindanao, Philippines. During the stay, Tet showed Mike a low resolution image of a Trapania taken at Sabang Beach, Puerto Galera, Philippines earlier in the year. Unable to identify it, the image was filed for future reference. Little did we know that in less than a year, it would come to the forefront in our present discussion.

Fast forward now a year later, when renown U/W Photographer Jim Black sends us images of an unknown Trapania that he encountered during a recent trip to the Banda Sea. Image "A" is a frontal view and Image "B" is a lateral view similar to that above! In rounding up the usual suspects for identificaion, we stumbled headlong into a indentication quandry! What appears to be the same undescribed Trapania is found in the company of Trapania sp.7 in our book. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the species geographical location where the species was first found and the photographer contributing the photo. The photo, included in Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs, was shot by Christiane Waldrich of Bali, and was taken very near Jim's specimen above.

Christiane was able to photograph both the Trapania sp. 7 and Jim's Trapania sp. in the same location at Flores, Teluk Wodong, during our Nudibranch workshop held in June of this year. Christiane's image of "Trapania sp.7 corresponds quite well visually with that on page 140 of Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs! It does not however doesn't exhibit the gold coloration so predominant in the extrarhinophoral and extrabranchial appendages of the Black and Lara specimens! Christiane's image of Trapania sp. taken in Flores does correlate quite well with the Lara and Black specimens from a basic photo appraisal approach. Think you have it all figured out! Take a look at a second image of Trapania sp. 7 (?) taken by Christiane at the same Flores location! With a little gold or yellow coloration in the extrarhinophoral and extrabranchial appendages, it's beginning to look like the Lara and Black specimens! The location and coverage of this pigment could vary immensely between specimens, so the whole situation is rather confusing.

Nudibranch Central at California Academy of Sciences has specimens of both Trapania sp. 7 and Trapania sp., so hopefully we will see a new name(s) soon, along with others that have been sent them.

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Nov. , 2011

Jim Black on location in in the Banda Sea

Jim is retired from US Airways after 27 years as a pilot..., flying Captain on an Airbus 330 Internationally.

Diving since 1970...with over 6000 dives logged. Shoots Nikon D-300 in Subal Housing with Ikelite strobes. Macro Mate on 105mm for supermacro.

Jim's photography has been featured in a number of books and publications including Helmut Debelius' Nudibranchs and Sea Snails of Gosliner, Behrens and Williams Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific. A photo of Jim petting a shark in "Sleeping Shark Caves" off Isla Mujeres Island, Mexico, taken by Amy Foster his significant other, recently appeared in Dave Behrens' Diving Guide to Cozumel, Cancun & The Riviera Maja.

Jim has been a solid supporter of the Slug Site since day one. His countless contributions put him near the top of the list of photographers who have greatly expanded our knowledge of sea slugs. There are a lot of kids in the formative stage of their education who are getting their first introduction to our sea slug friends via the great photographs Jim and other contributors have made to the site. My hat is off to Jim for making this presentation possible!

Send Jim email at

WEBMASTER'S NOTES : Another great submission by Jim Black who continues to astound us with his uncanny ability to find and photograph slug images most of us probably aren't going to see in this lifetime!

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

Send Dave email at

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