Chromodoris kalawakan
Image courtesy of Dr. Terry Gosliner

Image courtesy of Terry Gosliner

Chromodoris kalawakan Bonomo & Gosliner, 2020

Another new Chromodoris this week described by Lynn Bonomo and Terry Gosliner.

Lynn and Terry explain that the name Chromodoris kalawakan refers to the Filipino word for galaxy, since the coloration pattern looks like stars floating in a space cloud. The lines connecting some of the white dots appear as if astronomers were drawing the constellation patterns between the stars.

Chromodoris kalawakan is listed as Goniobranchus sp. 43 in NSSI 2nd Edition (page 160).

Living animals are small, with a maximum length of 20 mm. Body is a translucent white or light gray color with bright opaque white spots across the body. The white spots are found on the tips of short conical projections. Some of the bright white spots are interconnected by diffuse opaque white lines. The marginal band includes small orange dots around the whole nudibranch. The gill branches are white in color with bright opaque white spots and orange brown. The perfoliate rhinophores are white with an orange accent at the top and the bright white opaque spots. The posterior end of the foot extends well beyond the posterior end of the mantle and is ornamented with a network of diffuse opaque white markings.

I don't think I want to go into the complicated molecular phylogeny. If you are truly interested in that, please read the reference below. I will add that Lynn and Terry explain that externally, C. kalawakan is the only species of Chromodoris that is entirely devoid of black lines or dark brown to black spots. Also, it shares one characteristic, having white spots on the rhinophores and gill with several other species including, Chromodoris willani Rudman, 1982, C. lineolata, C. striatella, C. mandapamensis, and six undescribed species.

This species is known from Vanuatu, Indonesia, Philippines, and Palau.


LYNN J. BONOMO & TERRENCE M. GOSLINER. 2020. Adding stars to the Chromodoris (Nudibranchia, Chromodorididae) galaxy with the description of four new species. Zootaxa 4819 (3): 401-435.

Dave Behrens
Sammamish, WA 98074
Jan., 2021
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4 From left to right, Terry Gosliner, Angel Valdes, Dave Behrens La Jolla, Calif.

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