Common in the tropical and subtropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Koumac, New Caledonia, Oct 1993, intertidal, 120 mm long alive. Photo: Bill Rudman.
The genus Discodoris contains a very large number of very similar if not identical species. Because the original descriptions were often inadequate and based on one or a few specimens, it is difficult to determine their identity with living material. Until we have a better idea as to whether we are dealing with one widespread variable species or a number of very similar looking species, the taxonomy will remain confused. One of these species, is commonly identified with D. fragilis Alder & Hancock. The earliest name for this species is Doris lilacina Gould. It is possible that D. concinna Alder & Hancock, 1864 and various of Bergh's many species will prove to be synonyms.
This species is characterised by its ability to autotomise large sections of the mantle as described by many authors. There are two white patches in the dorsal midline which are quite characteristic of the species (see Willan & Coleman, 1984: figs 108, 111), but sometimes obscured in heavily pigmented specimens. The name, D. fragilis, which well describes its tendency to autotomise sections of the mantle, is in fact predated by the name Doris lilacina, from the Hawaiian islands. Gould in his original description, likens his specimen to a `trilobite' not realising that the peculiar shape resulted from the almost total autotomy of the mantle skirt, only the anterior portion being retained.
See Page on 'Discodoris lilacina' and 'Discodoris fragilis' from the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean.
- Gould, A.A. (1852). United States Exploring Expedition during the Years 1838-1842. Mollusca & Shells, 12: 1-510. (with Atlas of Plates, 1856).
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (July 21) Discodoris lilacina (Gould, 1852). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/disclila
Discodoris lilacina from sthn Queensland
From: Gary Cobb, December 18, 2008
Discodoris lilacina from Townsville, QLD
From: Melanie Wood, December 16, 2008
Spawn of Discodoris lilacina from Reunion
From: Hugues Flodrops, August 1, 2008
Discodoris lilacina from the Philippines
From: Sylvain Le Bris, July 12, 2007
Discodoris lilacina or Platydoris ellioti ?
From: Yukari Tani, June 8, 2007
Discodoris lilacina from the Red Sea
From: Binyamin Koretz, November 5, 2005
Discodoris lilacina from Turkey
From: Ferda Buyukbaykal, January 26, 2003
Dorid from Fly Point, Nelson Bay - Australia
From: Dave Harasti, December 11, 2002
Discodoris lilacina from Japan
From: Nishina Masayoshi, October 1, 2001
Discodoris lilacina from New South Wales
From: D. & L. Atkinson, May 16, 2000
Discodoris lilacina from South Africa
From: Ernest C.J. Seamark, July 25, 1999
Discodoris lilacina from NW Australia
From: Clay Bryce, May 10, 1999
Juvenile Discodoris lilacina?
From: Rie Nakano, May 5, 1999
Discodoris fragilis? from sthn Queensland
From: Wayne Ellis, December 1, 1998
Discodoris from Nelson Bay
From: David & Leanne Atkinson, January 27, 1998