Hypselodoris bennetti
(Angas, 1864)

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Chromodorididae


Southeastern Australia from southern Queensland in the north to eastern Victoria in the south. [any records from Victoria would be welcome].


UPPER: Twofold Bay, southern New South Wales, March 1986, 26mm long.
LOWER: Providential Head, Wattamolla Bay, New South Wales, on food sponge, Psammocinia sp (Thorectidae, Dictyoceratida).
PHOTOS: Bill Rudman.

Grows to about 50mm in length but usually 35mm or less. The bright yellow eggs are large, indicative of its direct developing larvae. Hypselodoris bennetti usually has a row of red spots down the dorsal midline but sometimes the spots are arranged randomly all over the dorsum. Its food sponge, Psammocinia sp. is hard and rough to touch, incorporating sand grains into it skeletal structure. Often the sponge is overgrown with algae and unrecognisable as a sponge, leading to the mistaken belief that this chromodorid is usually found away from its food.

There are many red and orange-spotted species of chromodorid in New South Wales and southeastern Australia. I have discussed this example of mimicry on a separate page.

• Rudman, W.B. (1983a) The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: Chromodoris splendida, C. aspersa and Hypselodoris placida colour groups. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 78: 105-173.
• Rudman, W.B. (1991) Purpose in Pattern: the evolution of colour in chromodorid nudibranchs. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 57, (T.E. Thompson Memorial Issue): 5-21.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (June 1) Hypselodoris bennetti (Angas, 1864). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/hypsbenn

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