Trapania aurata
Rudman, 1987

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Goniodorididae


Known from Hong Kong, New Caledonia and possibly northwestern Australia.


Upper photo: AM C140174, Holotype. 24 July 1983, Site 11.87, South Ninepin (SE), 14 m, Hong Kong. Photo: Brian Darvell. Lower photos: showing animals from Koumac, New Caledonia, October 1993 AM C200510. Photos: Bill Rudman

I am not sure why this species was aggregated on the aplysillid sponge. Goniodorids are usually found feeding on bryozoans or ascidians. Perhaps there is some animals associated with the sponge that they feed on.

This species is characterised by the yellow-orange tips to the anterior foot "tentacles", the oral tentacles and the rhinophores, and to the orange-yellow line along the dorsal edge of the lateral processes and the dorsal posterior midline of the body. The gills are sometimes lined with the same colour. The original material from Hong Kong had an orange-yellow band across the anterior edge of the head, while New Caledonian animals did not. The radular morphology of the two is not distinctly different.

Photos I have seen of a similar animal with orange markings from Western Australia may be the same species. See Trapania cf. aurata for animals with slightly different colour pattern, which may or may not be variants of this species. See also discussion [#21438 ] concerning the similarly coloured T. vitta, and message #9599 concerning Trapania sp. 8.

  • Rudman,W.B.(1987). The genus Trapania (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) in the Indo-West Pacific. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 53: 189-212.
  • Rudman, W.B. & Darvell, B.W. (1990) Opisthobranch Molluscs of Hong Kong: Part 1. Goniodorididae, Onchidorididae, Triophidae, Gymnodorididae, Chromodorididae (Nudibranchia). Asian Marine Biology, 7: 31-79.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1998 (November 17) Trapania aurata Rudman, 1987. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Trapania aurata and T. vitta
    From: Bill Rudman, March 13, 2008
  2. Radula of Trapania aurata from New Caledonia
    From: Bill Rudman, March 12, 2008
  3. Radula of Trapania aurata from Hong Kong
    From: Bill Rudman, March 12, 2008
  4. Trapania aurata from Hong Kong
    From: Bill Rudman & Brian Darvell, February 3, 2002
  5. Trapania aurata at Heron Island
    From: Julie Marshall, February 14, 2001
  6. Trapania aurata feeding
    From: Bill Rudman, February 12, 2001

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