Phyllidia elegans
Bergh, 1869

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Phyllidiidae


Known from coral reef regions throughout the western Pacific and Indian Oceans including the Red Sea.


UPPER: 18 m depth, Phi Phi Island, southern Thailand, 2 Dec. 1989, dorsal view of 35 mm specimen. PHOTO: David Brunckhorst.(Brunckhorst, 1993: Plate 2A);
LOWER: 9 m depth, Whiskey Reef, Red Sea, 14 Jan. 1983, dorsal view of P. multifaria Yonow, 30 mm specimen, Photo: N. Yonow (Brunckhorst, 1993: Plate 2A).

Notes compiled from Brunckhorst, 1993:
Study indicates that P. elegans displays some ontogenetic and individual variation in the arrangement of notal tubercles. However, the coloration and markings of P. elegans serve to clearly distinguish it from its conspecifics. These features include: the pink tubercles which are often capped in yellow; the pale yellow tipped oral tentacles; the pale foot which has a median longitudinal black line on the sole and black lines on its sides; and internally, the black band encircling the junction of pharyngeal bulb and oral tube. Phyllidia varicosa and Phyllidia tula both have a black line on the foot sole, but neither has pink coloration nor black lines on the sides of the foot. Most species of Phyllidiella have pink tubercles but their foregut morphology is very different, and none has yellow coloration or dark ventral markings.

NOTE: Phyllidia multifaria was synonymised by Brunckhorst (1993) with Phyllidia elegans but see Bernard Picton's message suggesting that P. multifaria is a valid species and that Phyllidia schupporum Fahrner & Schrödl, 2000 is an unnecessary synonym.

Brunckhorst, D.J. (1993) The systematics and phylogeny of Phyllidiid Nudibranchs (Doridoidea). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 16: 1-107.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (January 12) Phyllidia elegans Bergh, 1869. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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