Nudibranchs - Sunshine Coast etc. / 5607e
All photos Copyright ©2003-2024 Gary Cobb and contributing photographers
Gary Cobb 0416 048 100
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Elysia bangtawaensis Swennen, 1997
Location: Drainage Creek, Cobaki Braodwater, Coolangata, New South Wales, Australia
Size: 35-48 mm
Depth: 1-120 mm
Temperature: 18 C

FAMILY: Plakobranchidae


New Record for northern New South Wales
NOTE: This new species was found by an employee testing water while working on the Tugun Bypass. Insitu this animal resembles a leaf! It was found eating a green algae.
Photograph by Gary Cobb - Copyright 2003-2024

I just got Swennen’s paper today as a photocopy and the text leaves little doubt that’s what it is. This is what it says about the colour: “The colour of living Elysia bangtawaensis appears uniformly dark green with a series of 12-40 prominent, reddish orange spots along the outer margins of the parapodia. Less prominent opaque white spots and still smaller, white and reddish orange specks of varying size are visible on the dorsal and ventral sides of the body, including parapodia, foot, pericardium and rhinophores.”
As far as I know, Elysia bangtawaensis has only been found previously in Thailand “near the village of Bang Tawa, about 11 km west of Pattani” (this is the type locality). I like what else Swennen has to say about this locality “The species is named in honour of the people of Bang Tawa village, where the first specimens were discovered in the mangrove forest. [The villagers have protected their forest against the shrimp culture companies that are converting large parts of the natural productive and complex coastal ecosystems into ‘bio-industrial deserts’.]”
Of course the specimens from Tugun are not a new record for Australia, or for southern Queensland, because Helene Laws collected some and sent them to Bob Burn 30 years ago (these specimens are now lost unfortunately).
Even though (maybe because) they are named, this population of Elysia bangtawaensis has special conservation significance in that it represents the only known population of this species anywhere in Australia and the habitat looks very vulnerable to disturbance.
Richard Willan, Darwin Museum

Animals eating green algae

Drainage Creek looking west

Animals caught above tide line still crawled!