Doridomorpha gardineri Eliot, 1906

Doridomorpha gardineri in the Marshall Islands has been recorded at Kwajalein, Utirik, and Enewetak Atolls. They are very common but not often noticed, since they blend in so well with their prey and usual background, the coral Heliopora. They seem to prefer chunks of Heliopora that have broken off and are laying on the bottom, often partially dead. Close examination of such chunks frequently reveals one or more well camouflaged nudibranchs. The first photo shows a specimen on a slightly contrasting background, which is a piece of Heliopora that appears to be dying.

Here is an animal on living Heliopora. The nudibranch has crawled over a couple of brown strands of algae. It is hard to tell where the animal ends and the coral begins.

This shot from the side gives a good view of the rhinophores on the right.

Heliopora can either be brown or blue in color. Immediately below, a pair of nudibranchs lay flat on the surface of living blue Heliopora.

Next is a closer shot of Doridomorpha gardineri on blue Heliopora.

Another specimen hides on tan-colored Heliopora. The two white tipped rhinophores are on the right side of the animal.

The one below was found on Heliopora on Kwajalein Atoll's seaward reef on 7 September 2009.

Although we did not actually see these being laid, we think these are the eggs of Doridomorpha.

These were the specimens near the eggs shown above.

Specimens found by Christina Sylvester off Kwajalein Island had eggs and also appeared to have some associated unusual striped copepods.

Closeup of the copepod with its paired egg masses.

Another sell camouflaged pair.

Group of four on Heliopora.

Created 20 January 2007
Updated 23 March 2017

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