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Ardeadoris tomsmithi

Species Profile

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Ardeadoris tomsmithi

Author: (Bertsch & Gosliner, 1989)

Order: Nudibranchia  Family: Chromodorididae

Maximum Size: 40 mm

Sightings: Sunshine Coast


Ardeadoris tomsmithi (Bertsch & Gosliner, 1989)

Yet another gorgeous species of Ardeadoris. This species was described from specimens in Hawaii, where it is apparently quite common, at certain sites, but was known from the Marshall Islands at the time. Reports of its further distribution are scant and scattered. Since its description it has been reported occasionally from Guam and Okinawa that is, the Northern Pacific, across from central to western. However, other reports have come from such disparate regions as Exmouth region of Western Australia, Lord Howe Island and Sunshine Coast Qld (perhaps Indonesia). It is rarely sighted outside of the previously mentioned Northern Pacific (central & western).

Ardeadoris tomsmithi presents as an elongate shape, rounded anteriorly but tending to taper posteriorly. The mantle overhangs the body sides but the tail of the foot protrudes past the posterior edge of the mantle. The mantle margin is thick and highly convoluted. There are some minor colour variations in different regions. The base colour of the notum is brown covered in slightly raised cream-coloured spots. The spots tend to aggregate more closely around the rhinophores and gill with the central notum usually clear, although concentration and location of spots do vary. The mantle margin varies from white to cream to yellow fading into grey and then into the general brown colour of the notum. The sides of the body and foot are similarly coloured.

The lamellate rhinophores taper to a point and are brown in colour with a white line running vertically up the centre of both the anterior and posterior faces. The vibratile gill is arranged as a double spiral around the anus and consists of up to 11 quadrangular plumes being dark blue in colour but lighter basally.

Generally speaking, Hawaiian specimens have dark blue rhinophore clubs, lighter mantle colour, brighter yellow to mantle margin.

Size usually ranges from 20 to 30 mm long but 40 mm specimens have been recorded in the Marshall Islands.

Ardeadoris tomsmithi is a spongivore.

Originally described as Glossodoris tomsmithi. Some doubt was expressed at the time by the authors as to its genus placement due to possession of some intermediate features.

Moved to ArdeadorisArdeadoris tomsmithi by Johnson & Gosliner, 2012, based on its molecular sequence.

David A. Mullins – February 2024

– Bertsch, H. & Gosliner, T. M. (1989). Chromodorid nudibranchs from the Hawaiian Islands. The Veliger. 32(3): 247-265.

– Rudman, W. B. (1999, November 20). Glossodoris tomsmithi Bertsch & Gosliner, 1989. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from and associated messages.

– Nakano, R. (2004). Opisthobranchs of Japan Islands. Rules Inc. Tokyo.

– Debelius, H. & Kuiter, R. H., (2007). Nudibranchs of the World. IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv, Frankfurt.

– Coleman, N., (2008). Nudibranchs Encyclopedia. Neville Coleman’s Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Springwood, Qld.

– Johnson, R. F. & Gosliner, T. M., (2012). Traditional taxonomic groupings mask evolutionary history: A molecular phylogeny and new classification of the chromodorid nudibranchs. PLoS One 7 (4): e33479.

– Gosliner, T. M., Valde ́s, A ́. & Behrens, D. W. (2018). Nudibranch & Sea Slug Identification – Indo-Pacific, 2nd Edition. New World Publications, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

– Nimbs, M. J., Hutton, I., Davis, T. R., Larkin, M. F. & Smith, S. D. A. (2020). The Heterobranchia Sea Slugs of Lord Howe Island, NSW, Australia (Mollusca: Gastropoda). The Royal Society of Victoria, 132, 12–41

– Pitman, C. & Fiene, P. (2024). Sea Slugs of Hawaii. Available at: (Accessed: 25/02/2024)

Other Sea Slugs in this Family (sighted)

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