Like Dendrodoris fumata, Dendrodoris nigra is known to be a variable species. In color, the two species may at times overlap, and both share several different color forms. One way to tell this difference is said to be in the size of the gills. In D. fumata, the gills are large and cover much of the animal's width near the posterior end. In D. nigra, the gills are generally just a small cluster of branchiae roughly in the shape of a ball. This species is relatively common under rocks in shallow water. We have found it at Enewetak, Kwajalein, Bikini, and Ujelang Atolls, generally under dead coral at depths less than 10 meters. The animal immediately below was photographed at Kwajalein Atoll on 11 February 2008. This species is also common on shallow reefs in Hawaii.
The adult below has just deposited an egg mass.
Juvenile Dendrodoris nigra are often bright red in color.
Here's an especially heavily speckled one from 22 November 2010.
Sometimes the adults retain a bit of the juvenile red coloration.
In late June 2010, there were lots of small brown juveniles around.
Created 28 December 2006
Updated 18 January 2011
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