Species list
Next species
Additional Photos


more orange


on food sponge

egg mass

Ardeadoris poliahu
(Bertsch & Gosliner, 1989)
Ardeadoris poliahu
Maximum size:  57 mm.

Identification:  The body of this species is translucent tan to light orange with many tiny, slightly raised white flecks on the notum. Small ring-shaped areas lacking white flecks with single white flecks in their centers give the appearance of pale ocellations. The white mantle margin, which overhangs the foot, is highly convoluted and is edged with yellow-orange. The rhinophores are translucent tan with longitudinal rust-orange lines on their anterior and posterior faces. The gills are cream-colored with longitudinal rust-orange lines.

Natural history:  Ardeadoris poliahu is a moderately rare species typically found in caverns or on shaded cliffs. It lives in moderately protected to highly exposed locations at depths of 3-72 m (10-238 ft) and is one of several chromodorids that vibrate their gills. It lays a ruffled, cream egg mass irregularly mottled with darker yellow and probably feeds on a cream sponge.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau: possibly known from Thailand.

Taxonomic notes:  This species is listed as "snowflake" in Bertsch and Johnson, 1981 and was first recorded in Hawaii from Pupukea, Oahu by Scott Johnson and Hans Bertsch on May 26, 1978. It was named for the Hawaiian snow goddess of Mauna Kea, Poli‘ahu due to the frosting of white flecks on its notum. It's listed as Glossodoris poliahu (corrected in 2019 printing) and is referred to as the "snow-goddess nudibranch" in Hoover, 1998 & 2006.

Photo:  PF: 26 mm: Makena, Maui; Aug. 19, 2008.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
Species list
Family Next species Top