Roboastra luteolineata
(Baba, 1936)

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Nembrothinae


Originally described from Japan and reported here from New Zealand for the first time. It has previously been reported from Australia as Tambja affinis.


UPPER: Poor Knights Island, northeastern New Zealand. PHOTO: Ian Skipworth, Skip's Underwater Image Gallery .
LOWER: Gorgonia Hole, Heron Is, Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, 10m. December 1980. PHOTO: Geoff Avern.

The most distinctive external feature of this species is the milky green markings between the rhinophores, which distinguish from other black nembrothids with yellow longitudinal lines down the body.

It has been identified in a number of popular books on Australian nudibranchs (Willan & Coleman, 1984., Coleman, 1989) as Tambja affinis (Eliot, 1904) but that species, originally described from East Africa, was described as having a single median yellow stripe. The suggestion in these books that it eats bryozoans (as Tambja affinis) is probably based on its misidentification as a species of Tambja. As a typical Roboastra, it most probably feeds on other nudibranchs. One typical feature of Roboastra are the large downward pointing oral tentacles which are probably associated with locating and tracking down their prey.

I am not sure if the animal identified as Roboastra luteolineata from South Africa in Helmut Debelius's book is that species as it does not seem to have the green marks between the rhinophores which are clearly present in Australian and Japanese specimens. It could however be a regional colour variety.

• Baba, K. (1936). Opisthobranchia of the Ryukyu (Okinawa) Islands. Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Kyushu Imperial University, 5(1): 1-50, Pl. 1-3.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (February 22) Roboastra luteolineata (Baba, 1936). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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