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Godiva aff. quadricolor

Species Profile

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Godiva aff. quadricolor

Author: Undescribed

Order: Nudibranchia  Family: Myrrhinidae

Maximum Size: 60 mm

Sightings: Sunshine Coast


Godiva aff. quadricolor 

We are not entirely convinced that this presentation represents Godiva quadricolor Barnard, 1927 or Godiva rachelae Rudman, 1980 (images of specimens from the Sunshine Coast).

Willan 2004, makes a case for it being Godiva quadricolor and in the process actually synonymised Godiva rachelae Rudman, 1980 with Godiva quadricolor Barnard, 1927, at the time.

Rudman 2006, disagrees with Willan, considering them separate species and that this presentation is Godiva rachelae.

Gosliner 2015, “Both Bill Rudman and our Gosliner et al., 2008 consider G. quadricolor and G. rachelae as distinct species. Richard did not actually examine any specimens of G. rachelae when he said they were the same. We have done some anatomical work that still needs to be published that shows the two species as clearly distinct.

Willan’s synonymisation has not appeared to have gained much, if any, traction e.g. MolluscaBase (WoRMS) 2023, who regard both as accepted species.

We agree with Rudman in that G. quadricolor has shorter cerata than G. rachelae and not like the above presentation. Colours, and their arrangement on our specimens however, are problematic and do not appear to conform properly to either of the original descriptions of these two species. It is observed though, that the cerata of some of our specimens appear to conform to the illustration by Barnard, 1927 Pl. XX Fig. 10 of a Godiva quadricolor ceras.

All species have a range of variation (intraspecific variation) and often the extent of that is not reliably known (unless comprehensive molecular sequencing is undertaken) such that there is often a level of supposition applied. The golden rule, apparently, is to look at what is the same rather than what is different, however, where there is also a significant difference in geographical range involved we feel a more cautious approach should be applied. There is even a subtle range of colour presentations in the specimens we record under this name on the Sunshine Coast. 

Hence, we are calling these particular Sunshine Coast specimens Godiva aff. quadricolor. 

The use of aff. in the name indicates our level of uncertainty in that it could possibly be that species or closely related to it and we are referring the reader to that species for comparison.

Previously known on this website as Godiva quadricolor – Change effected 30/11/2023.

David A. Mullins – November 2023

– Barnard, K. H. (1927). South African nudibranch Mollusca, with descriptions of new species, and a note on some specimens from Tristan d’Acunha. Annals of the South African Museum 25: 171-215, pls 19, 20.

– Rudman, W. B. (1980). Aeolid opisthobranch molluscs (Glaucidae) from the Indian Ocean and the south-west Pacific. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 68: 139-172.

– Gosliner, T. M. (1987). Nudibranchs of Southern Africa. Sea Challengers and Jeff Hamman Publications: Monterey.

– Willan, R C.. (1987). Phylogenetic systematics and zoogeography of Australian nudibranchs. 1. Presence of the aeolid Godiva quadricolor (Barnard) in Western Australia. Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 8: 71-85.

– Bengtson, P. (1988). Open Nomenclature. Palaeontology, Vol. 31, Part 1, pp. 223-227

– Willan, R C.. (2004). Godiva quadricolor (Barnard,1927) (Nudibranchia: Facelinidae) spreads into southern Queensland. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, 20: 31-36.

– Rudman, W. B., (2006, Jul 20). Comment on Godiva quadricolor? from sthn Queensland by Gary Cobb. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

– Debelius, H. & Kuiter, R. H. (2007). Nudibranchs of the World. p. 327. IKAN.

– Gosliner, T. M. (2015). Comment on Facebook – Nudibranch Central – 13/02/2015.

– Sigovini, M., Keppel, E. & Tagliapietra, D. (2016). Open Nomenclature in the biodiversity era. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 1217–1225

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

– MolluscaBase eds. (2023). MolluscaBase. Godiva Macnae, 1954. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at: on 2023-11-24

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