Hypselodoris whitei was not uncommon at Enewetak Atoll but but was initially pretty hard to come by at Kwajalein. We have been finding more recently, though. They are typically found on lagoon interisland reefs, under or exposed on rocks in 3 to 15 meters of water, but a few have been as deep as 35m at the bottom of the lagoon slope. Many were found on the pilings of Medren Island pier at Enewetak. The photo below is from Enewetak. Often this species is found eating the purple sponge shown in a couple of the photos. 23 specimens measured ranged from 16 to 46mm in length. In the specimen immediately below, the round white circle with the central dot within the circlet of gills on the right side is the anus. What a place to dump one's wastes--right where it is trying to breathe.
Of the two photos directly below, the upper is from Enewetak Atoll and the lower from Kwajalein Atoll. Not only is the mantle color different due to the crosshatching in the Enewetak specimen, but also what is visible of the foot coloration is quite different as well.
The pair below have been working on this purple sponge for some time. In the upper part of the photo to the left of the middle, you can see where the nudibranchs have eaten all the sponge tissue, leaving the naked spongin fibers. This is another shot from Enewetak.
The next three photos show two specimens from Kwajalein Atoll. One of these has none of the crosshatching seen in all Enewetak specimens, and in the other this crosshatching is less pronounced than in those from Enewetak. These two were found as a pair at a depth of 10m in a lagoon Halimeda patch.
This Kwajalein specimen was found 15 September 2008.
Below is another specimen from Kwajalein, found exposed at 8m on a lagoon pinnacle on 17 February 2009.
This one was in a loose carpet of algae on sand at a depth of about 32m on 24 December 2011.
This pair was eating a colony of sponge in a lagoon algae patch at a depth of 35m on 28 May 2012.
A small pink commensal copepod lives with the next individual, found on a Kwajalein lagoon reef on 23 February 2014.
Created 21 December 2005
Updated 13 April 2014
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