These specimens match the recently described Facelina rhodopos. There is some disagreement about the generic placement, but Gosliner et al (2008) state that this has the cerata specialized for copulation as found in Pruvotfolia. The bottom photo is one of two specimens found together at night on an Enewetak lagoon pinnacle at a depth of 12 meters. The specimen measured 25mm. The rest of the pictures of the brownish-tinged animals were all taken in Kwajalein Atoll, both on the leeward seaward reef at night and on lagoon reefs and pinnacles under rocks during the day. They are most often found under rocks that are partly overgrown with Millepora fire coral, which appears to be their food source. We have seen specimens ranging up to about 40mm long.
We used to think they were uncommon, but now know they can be found regularly if you look under rocks that are partly overgrown with Millepora. At first we thought they may just be eating hydroids that are often found around the coral, but are now convinced they are eating the fire coral itself. The following four photos show animals on Millepora. There were two of the eolids (only one shown) on the white tracks of dead coral skeleton in the colony of fire coral immediately below.
The next two shots show specimens with their egg masses, deposited directly on the Millepora. The first shot also shows light-colored patches where it looks as though the fire coral may have been grazed.
The specimen below was the first one observed at Enewetak Atoll on 12 May 1983.
Created 8 January 2007
Updated 17 May 2012
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