Tenellia lugubris (Bergh, 1870)

Tenellia lugubris can be found often if you look in the right places. It eats Porites corals and usually hides underneath them during the day. We find them most often under colonies of Porites that have broken free from the reef and fallen, usually on their sides or upside down. Occasionally, Tenellia minor shares the same Porites colony. We have seen T. lugubris at Enewetak and Kwajalein Atolls on intertidal reefs, lagoon pinnacles, and on the seaward slope to depths of about 25m. This species was long known as Phestilla lugubris, but Phestilla is apparently a synonym for Tenellia. The photo immediately below shows an individual on living Porites.

The underside of the Porites colony is usually dead and white, and this is where the nudibranchs deposit their white, flowery egg masses.

When resting, the animal would be easy to mistake for a sea anemone.

There's a tiny juvenile in the lower left of the photo below.

Surrounded by egg masses.

Speciments with a bit more yellow on the tips of the cerata, and much yellower eggs.

A specimen on a grazed patch of Porites rus.

We also have Tenellia lugubris from Hawaii and the Solomons.

Created 8 January 2007
Updated 17 March 2017

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