Tenellia poritophages (Rudman, 1979)

This animal was the first of this species known from the Marshalls and was found under a loose colony of its prey coral Porites lobata and subsequently crawled about on the living coral after being exposed to light. The specimen was on a Kwajalein Atoll lagoon pinnacle at a depth of about 6m on 5 January 2009. In the years following this first specimen, many more were found in asimilar habitat on shallow water lagoon reefs.

On 19 October 2009, six more specimens, including one tiny juvenile (just right of the right hand specimen in the first shot below), were found under two separate loose, fist-sized chunks of living Porites coral in a field of rubble on sand on a Kwajalein Atoll lagoon reef at a depth of about 8m. Both groups of three were with a clutch of eggs.

Here are a few of the seven additional specimens and their eggs observed on 5 July 2011, as usual small under loose colonies of Porites coral on a rubbly lagoon reef.

In the still captured from video below, there appear to be about six individuals clustered around some egg masses on Porites.

These specimens from 8 July 2012 had been quite busy laying eggs.

Created 17 January 2009
Updated 17 March 2017

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