Dendrodoris carbunculosa (Kelaart, 1858)

Dendrodoris carbunculosa has been found at Kwajalein Atoll on the intertidal interisland reef, lagoon pinnacles and the seaward reef, where it is active at night. At least a dozen individuals have been seen, ranging in length up to about 250mm, making it one of the largest nudibranch species found in the Marshalls. This species has a slimy secretion that is likely toxic but is at least irritating to the eyes if they are rubbed after handling the slug. We have also seen this species in Hawaii. The first few shots show a large individual found under an overturned dead Acropora coral on top of a Kwajalein lagoon pinnacle at a depth of about 8m.

Closer views of the lamellate rhinophores.

The compound dorsal tubercles.

Highly branched gills.

A large egg mass from the specimen figured above.

The image of the large individual below was captured from old Hi8 video on Kwajalein's seaward reef.

This species is easy to distinguish from a similar close relative, Dendrodoris tuberculosa, by its unspotted underside. D. tuberculosa's underside bears large and distinct spots. The picture below is captured from video.

We think the animal below is a juvenile Dendrodoris carbunculosa. It measured only about 15mm long.

The one in the two photos below measured about 30mm and was under a rock in about 9m of water on Kwajalein Atoll's seaward reef on 6 June 2010.

Two more juveniles in the 25-30mm range were found in March and April of 2016.

And a slightly larger one of about 50mm found on 27 June 2016. Although its dorsum could be mistaken for Dendrodoris tuberculosa, it did not have spots on the underside.

Created 25 December 2006
Updated 2 October 2016

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