Common in New South Wales and probably endemic to that region.
UPPER RIGHT: Port Stephens, New South Wales, October 1980. 38mm long. Photo: H. McLennan.
LOWER: Showing colour variation.
A, Solitary Ids., Coffs Harbour region, NSW, March 1988. 47mm long. Photo: Bill Rudman.
B, Bare Is., Botany Bay, Sydney, NSW, July 1980. 60mm long. Photo: J. Fields.
C, Solitary Ids., Coffs Harbour region, NSW, March 1988, 27mm long. Photo: Bill Rudman.
D, Jervis Bay, NSW, Aug 1980. 45mm long. Photo: J. Fields.
E, Bare Is., Botany Bay, Sydney, NSW, August 1980. 50mm long. Photo: Bill Rudman.
A common New South Wales dorid from the intertidal to about 20m. Is soft to touch, like a chromodorid, and quite variable in colour. Other very similar-looking species are found around southern Australia and Aphelodoris luctuosa occurs in New Zealand.
• Abraham, P.S. (1877). Revision of the Anthobranchiate nudibranchiate mollusca, with descriptions or notices of forty-one hitherto undescribed species. Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1877: 196-269
Rudman, W.B., 2000 (March 15) Aphelodoris varia (Abraham, 1877). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/aphevari
January 28, 2006
From: Brian Ricker
I took this shot about 3 years down in Sydney at Bare Island. Can you help identify the nudis?
Locality: Bare Island, Botany Bay, Sydney, NSW. Australia Depth: ~26 feet. Length: ~1in. 25 Febuary 2002. shallow rock formation. Photographer: Brian Ricker
Also, safe to assume this was spawning event?
email@example.comRicker, B.S., 2006 (Jan 28) Four Aphelodoris varia mating. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15659
This is Aphelodoris varia and it certainly looks like the four animals are mating. As you may know nudibranchs are hermaphrodite, so they act as both male and female during mating. As their reproductive apparatus is on the right side of the body they need to pair up right side to right side as you can see both pairs are doing in your photo.
November 4, 2005
From: Bruce Potter
Would I be correct in identifying this one as an Aphelodoris varia?
I found it off the coast near Swansea in about 15 meters amongst rubble and kelp. I cannot tell you exactly where because I think our boat driver was lost.
It would have been about 55 mm long.
Locality: Near Swansea, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia.
Depth: 15 meters. Length: 55 mm. 30 October 2005. Rocky bottom with Kelp. Photographer: Bruce Potter
bandppotter@bigpond,comPotter, B., 2005 (Nov 4) Aphelodoris varia from New South Wales. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15148
Yes this is Aphelodoris varia. The quite high rhinophore sheaths are one of a characteristics of species of this genus.
July 18, 2003
From: Andrew Trevor-Jones
I found around 7 Aphelodoris varia at Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour [New South Wales, Australia] on Saturday, July 5, 2003. Some appeared to be feeding and some appeared to have recently laid eggs. I have attached some photographs.
They were at a depth around 4.2m and the water temperature was around 16 C. The photographs were taken just after the high tide.
As to feeding, it appears the nudibranchs were on some orange sponge but I can't confirm they were feeding. I also can't confirm that they produced the eggs, but vicinity suggests they were.
Trevor-Jones, A., 2003 (Jul 18) Aphelodoris varia from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/10410
From the Atkinson's message the eggs in your photo could quite possibly be those of Aphelodoris varia. The sponge is also a possibile food source, and certainly it will worth watching to see if A. varia is found on the same sponge in future.
June 28, 2003
From: Leanne & David Atkinson
On the 7 June 2003 we found multiple couples of Aphelodoris varia, which is very common in our area, laying eggs. The Forum didn't have any egg laying photos so here are some to add to the site. The couple that are very different in colour were found in 8metres on a growth covered rock. The like coloured pair were found in 14 metres on a damaged orange barrel sponge. They were both laying and the sponge was covered in multiple egg rings. The water clarity was poor that day down to 5 metres viz at times.
Location: Fly Point, Marine Reserve, Port Stephens, NSW, S.E. Australia
Time: 1.50pm Tide: High 1.3m W.Temp: 17 degrees c
Leanne & David Atkinson
Dear Leanne & David,
I think this is the first time the egg ribbon of Aphelodoris varia has been reported so this is a very valuable contribution. from the large size of the individual eggs I would guess that this specis has either direct development, where the larvae hatch out of the egg capsule as small crawling slugs, or perhaps lecithotrophic non-feeding veliger larvae, which swim in the plankton for a short time before settling down as crawling slugs. Either type of development would help explain the large local populations which are often found. When larvae don't have an extended period in the plankton, they often don't get the opportunity to move far from where they were eggs.
January 7, 2003
From: Allan Saben
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, I just got back from Nelson Bay, Port Stephens [Halifax and Flypoint divesites, December 2002, New South Wales, Australia]. Here are a few more images of animals I have taken, in this case Aphelodoris varia.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSaben, A., 2003 (Jan 7) Aphelodoris varia at Port Stephens. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8833
January 6, 2003
From: Iain Whyte
Hi Dr Rudman,
I thought you might be interested in this image of a pair of Aphelodoris varia I photographed today [December, 2002] at Bare Island (La Perouse), Sydney, NSW. They were in calm water at about 9 metres, hiding under a slight ledge - hence the reason I couldn't get a better angle to avoid the sponge thats in the way.
Thanks again for this splendid resource.
Whyte, I., 2003 (Jan 6) Aphelodoris varia - mating pair. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8758
December 10, 2002
From: Ian Simpson
Here are a pair of Aphelodoris varia from Shark Point (Clovelly, Sydney, NSW), lst January 2002; depth 18 metres
This pair appears to be mating, although the only indication is that they are lined up next to each other as no glands are visible
barts email@example.comSimpson, I., 2002 (Dec 10) Aphelodoris varia from Sydney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/8612
This is one of those common species we know little about. If you ever see it feeding or habitually on the same sponge, a photo would be welcome
September 13, 2000
From: Stuart Hutchison
These guys were found in various east coast [Australia] locations. I thought these shots show colour variation reasonably well.
UPPER RIGHT – both 2.5 inches long, 5m deep at Tathra [New South Wales] in April this year,
LOWER LEFT – two inches long, 7m deep at Nelson Bay, Port Stephens [New South Wales] in Dec 1998.
LOWER RIGHT – two inches long, 20m deep in Gulf of St Vincent (3nm out from Adelaide, South Australia) earlier this year.
Hutchison, S., 2000 (Sep 13) Aphelodoris varia? from southeastern Australia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2988
Thanks for the photos. The upper right and lower left photos are definitely Aphelodoris varia but the lower right animal is what Burn (1966) described as Aphelodoris lawsae. Have a look at the page on Aphelodoris rossquicki for a discussion on these southern Australian species.
March 17, 2000
From: Erik Schloegl
Thank you for your identification of Hoplodoris nodulosa. Given your remark about feeling guilty (though how you can feel guilty with such a comprehensive and rapidly expanding Web site is beyond me) of not yet including some of the common southeastern Australian nudibranchs, I thought the little guys needed an advocate on the Sea Slug Forum, so here's another very common one that I think is still missing: Aphelodoris varia, photographed on rocky reef at a depth of 20m at Colours Reef, just south of the entrance to Sydney Harbour, on February 7, 1998.
firstname.lastname@example.orgSchloegl, E., 2000 (Mar 17) Aphelodoris varia outside Sydney Harbour. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2099
Thanks for Aphelodoris varia, it certainly needs to be on the site. I have added a page showing some of the colour variability in this species. There are also names for a group of species found in southern Australia but I think more work needs to be done before they are sorted out satisfactorily.