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Trapania franae

Species Profile

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Trapania franae

Author: Paz-Sedano, Cobb, Gosliner & Pola, 2024

Order: Nudibranchia  Family: Goniodorididae

Maximum Size: 15 mm

Sightings: Sunshine Coast


Trapania franae Paz-Sedano, Cobb, Gosliner & Pola, 2024


We believe that the first record of this species, anywhere, (undescribed at the time) was back on 13th November 2011 at Flinders Reef, off Moreton Island, SE Queensland, Australia, during a dive trip aboard my vessel, Mischief. The only other records are subsequent sightings in late 2019 and 2020 at La Balsa in the Mooloolah River. It is not a common species.

The images shown here, of this species, were recorded of one specimen at Flinders Reef off Moreton Island SE Queensland. In the paper describing this species this particular specimen is identified as Trapania franae. The link in the paper to that reference is no longer live, as that portion of that website has been made inaccessible. We are not totally convinced though that this is an example of Trapania franae, found and recorded by Fran Roberts in the Mooloolah River, but nor does it properly fit any other described species.

Body elongate, somewhat “tubular” in shape and without a notal edge. The anterior is rounded and carries a pair of oral tentacles, of medium length and tapered, one each side of the mouth. As is characteristic for Trapania, each rhinophore, although lacking a sheath, has an extra-rhinophoral appendage located laterally at its base and curving posteriorly and the gill has an extra-branchial appendage each side, larger, but also curving posteriorly. Neither rhinophores nor gill can be retracted. The rhinophores bear lamellae on their posterior face while the very apices are smaller in diameter, tapered and smooth. The gill has three feathery branches, arranged in a semicircle around the anus.

The body is opaque white covered with large patches of dark brown. The brown extends in part on to the oral tentacles, rhinophores,  extra-rhinophoral and extra-branchial appendages. The gill branches are translucent with opaque white spots. Some specimens have dark brown to the outside surface. Regarding the Flinders Reef, Moreton Island specimen, close examination of the notal surface reveals not so much as spots on the brown patches but more of a texture to the surface that extends to the opaque white portions as well.

David A. Mullins – May 2024

– Rudman, W. B. (1987). The genus Trapania (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) in the Indo-West Pacific. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 53: 189-212.

– Gosliner, T. M. & Fahey, S. J. (2008). Systematics of Trapania (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) with descriptions of 16 new species. Systematics and Biodiversity 6 (1): 53–98.

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

– Smirnoff, D.S., Donohoo, S.A. & Gosliner, T.M. (2022) Extra-branchial processes manifest extra diversity: systematics of the genus Trapania (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) and nine new species descriptions. Zoological Journal of the linnean Society, 196 (1), 270‒313.

– Paz-Sedano, S., Moles, J., Smirnoff, D., Gosliner, T. M. and Pola, M. (2023). A combined phylogenetic strategy illuminates the evolution of Goniodorididae nudibranchs (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Heterobranchia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107990

– Paz-Sedano, S., Cobb, G., Gosliner, T. M. & Pola, M. (2024). Filling gaps in the knowledge of Goniodorididae taxa (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Nudibranchia) with description of seven new species. Zootaxa. 5443(4): 523-547.

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