Nembrotha aurea have an elongated shape and smooth skin. The body has black lines running across it longitudinally. In the lower and upper body the background color is white. There is an orange stripe between the lines just below the gills and more orange just in front of the gills.The rhinophores and gills are red orange. The lower body is edged with blue. All in all a really colorful combination and a very attractive looking nudibranch. They grow up to 70 mm in length.
IN THE WILD
The Nembrotha aurea are not that common in Tanzania but are occasionally seen on the top of some reefs. Usually close to a drop off. Being brightly colored they are easy to spot. Normally they are seen singly but sometimes in pairs. They have the ability to secrete toxic substances which provides protection against predators. Being fairly slow moving they are easy to observe while diving. They seem to sense a diver and head for cover, probably not appreciating having lights shone on them.
The Nembrotha aurea is found across the Indo west Pacific area . They are found on rocky and coral reefs to a depth of 30 meters.
Nembrotha aurea feed on colonial sea squirts, also known as ascidians.
They are simultaneous hermaphrodites and mating takes place by darting. The individual who darts the other first becomes the dominant male and the other the female. Eggs are laid on a solid substrate and when they hatch the larvae become planktonic before growing into adults.
NEMBROTHA AUREA CLASSIFICATION
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates
East and South Coasts of Southern Africa
Dennis King & Valda Fraser