nudibranchs text index | photo index
Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Nudibranchia
Hypselodoris nudibranchs
Hypselodoris sp.
Family Chromodorididae
updated May 2020
Where seen? These small colourful nudibranchs are sometimes seen on our Northern shores. On coral rubble and rocky shores with sponges and encrusting animals.

Features: 2-3cm. Body long, narrow with a long tail. Usually colourful with bright spots. Large flower-like gills on the back and large rhinophores (relative to the body size).

Hypselodoris kanga is one of a number of species with a bluish background colour, short dark blue lines and yellow or orange spots. It is very similar to the Pink-gilled hypselodoris which is similar to Hypselodoris infucata. Hypselodoris kanga has gills with a triangular cross-section edged in blue with a series of yellow spots up the outer face. Hypselodoris infucata has thin branching gills.

Hypselodoris bullockii is often encountered by divers in our reefs. It comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns which causes some ID confusion.

Hypselodoris maritima is pale with black blotches and a yellow margin.

Hypselodoris placida is listed among our nudibranchs but Dr Bill Rudman's website says they are only known from Japan and Hong Kong.

What do they eat? They eat sponges, each Hypselodoris species usually specialising in a particular species of sponge. Although tiny, apparently they can feed voraciously. They eat the sponge tissues and leave the hard bits (spicules) of the sponge behind as a skeleton. Dysidea sp. is a sponge they have been recorded feeding on.

Members of the Family Chromodorididae absorb the toxic chemicals in their sponge food and incorporate these chemicals into the mantle glands on their backs where they repel predators.

Some hypselodoris nudibranchs on Singapore shores

Pink-gilled hypselodoris

Hypselodoris maritima

Thanks to Toh Chay Hoon for sorting out the Hypselodoris from the Chromodoris photos.


  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Wells, Fred E. and Clayton W. Bryce. 2000. Slugs of Western Australia: A guide to the species from the Indian to West Pacific Oceans. Western Australian Museum. 184 pp.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2001. 1001 Nudibranchs: Catalogue of Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.144pp.
  • Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach. 2010. Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications. 497pp.
  • Coleman, Neville, 1989. Nudibranchs of the South Pacific Vol 1. 64 pp.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008