Phyllidiella pustulosa (Cuvier, 1804)

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This species has been observed on Reunion and Mauritius Islands

Order : Nudibranchia
Suborder : Euctenidiacea
Superfamily : Phyllidioidea
Family : Phyllidiidae
Distribution : Tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Maximal size : 70 mm
Abundance : Seldom if ever on the fore reef zone

Species characteristics :

Tubercles are usually clustered in three groups with the black dorsurn showing between individual tubercles, or tubercles are amalgamated together within these groups so that little or no black is visible between tubercles.

The mantle margin is edged in pale pink .

The rhinophores are black

phyllidiella pustulosa

Showing species characteristics...

Photo Florence Trentin
Reunion, "Eboulis reef" at Saint Leu, 15m, 40 mm,


See more about : Sightening and mating periods

Remarks :

Synonymous (according worms) :
          - Fryeria variabilis Collingwood, 1881                                     - Phyllidia spectabilis Collingwood, 1881  
          - Phyllidia albonigra Quoy & gaimard, 1832                            - Phyllidia verrucosa van hasselt, 1824
          - Phyllidia melanocera Yonow, 1986                                      - Phyllidia fumata , Rüppell & Leuckart, 1830
          - Phyllidia nobilis Bergh, 1869                                               - Phyllidiella nobilis (bergh, 1869)
          - Phyllidia pustulosa Cuvier, 1804
          - Phyllidia rotunda
eliot, 1904

Bibliographic data :

Other external morphology characteristics

Live animals ranged in length frorn 8-69 mm and average size was 30 mm.
    The mantle margin is edged in pale pink .This feature is obvious in small to medium -sized animals but the pink edging becomes narrower in large specimens or it may be interrupted by black.
    The tubercles of specimens photographed in natural light or with camera strobe lighting always appear pink. Underwater, tubercles of some individuals appear greyish or green to the human eye.
    The basic pattern of notal tubercles is similar in juveniles and adults. Juveniles have tubercles grouped in amalgamated clusters around the perimeter of the dorsurn and three large pink clusters of tubercles in the midline (1 anteriorly around the rhinophores, 1 centrally and 1posteriorly). As an animal grows, individual tubercles or a few tubercles separate from the amalgamation and spread out, and the black background colouration appears between. With increasing body size, the distance between these tubercles increases. In large animals, the tubercles are entirely distinct frorn the original mass
    Individual tubercles are low, of irregular shape with a rounded apex (rarely angular) and may be compound .
    The rhinophores are black and each rhinophoral clavus possesses 22-26 lamellae (specimens greater than 35 mm).
    The anal opening occurs far posteriorly.
    The foot sole is dark grey medially, becoming lighter towards the margins.

Similar species

Phyllidiella pustulosa has similarities in appearance to Phylidiella annulata , Phylidiella zeylanica, Phylidiella granulata, Phyllidopsis burni, Phyllidiella nigra and Phyllidiella cooraburrama

But Phylidiella annulata differs in having many pink rings with low angular tubercles, in lacking a pale edge to the mantle and in the possession of 17-20 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus (specimens greater than 23 mm).
    But Phylidiella zeylanica has pink compound tubercles which are coalesced into longitudinal ridges ( not clusters) and black longitudinal lines.
    But Phylidiella granulata has three median groups of tubercles but differs from P. pustulosa in that the tubercles are acute, multi-compound and white with grey bases, a granular grey mantle edge and 17-20 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus.
    But Phyllidopsis burni has multiple tips tubercles.
    But Phyllidiella nigra is black at the mantle edge and the tubercles are usually single, quite high and evenly distributed (not clustered) over the dorsum.
    But Phyllidiella cooraburrama has usually single, tall, multicompound and quite pointed tubercles

References :

Bill Rudman Seaslug site : Sea Slug Forum : Phyllidiella pustulosa

Publications :

Brunckhorst,D.J. (1993) The systematics and phylogeny of Phyllidiid Nudibranchs (Doridoidea). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 16 : 1-107.
    Valdés, Á. (2001). Nudibranches Phyllidiidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda) des eaux profondes du Sud-Ouest Pacifique = Deep-water phyllidiid nudibranchs (Gastropoda: Phyllidiidae) from the tropical south-west Pacific Ocean. in: Bouchet, P. et al. (Ed.) Tropical deep-sea benthos. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle. Série A, Zoologie. 185: 331-368

Other photos of Phyllidiella pustulosa :

Florence Trentin

Reunion, "Eboulis reef" at Saint Leu, 15m, 40 mm.

Photo of the foot and underside of this animal, this specimen not dark grey medially, becomes lighter towards the margins as in the species description...

But you can see the mantle margin edged in pale pink .



phyllidiella pustulosa F.Trentin

Jean Marie Gradot

Reunion, La Saline lagoon, less 1 m, 18 April 2015

A specimen partially eaten...





Pierre Périès

Mauritius, Trou aux Biches, 4 June 2016



phyllidiella pustulosa F.Trentin

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