Gymnodoris sp. e510

So many of the gymnodorids look so much alike, it is difficult to try to split them apart into species based on external appearance alone. This animal bears some resemblance to Gymnodoris sp. e264, but our notes on that species indicate the gills are set in a circle around the anus; on Gymnodoris sp. e510, the gills form an arc anterior to the anus, more like those of Gymnodoris cf alba on this site. For now we are keeping these separate. Several specimens are known from Kwajalein Atoll lagoon reefs, where they were shaken out of Halimeda algae from depths of 8 to 10 meters. The first two measured about 10mm in length.

The tiny 5mm long specimen below was found in the process of eating the black rhinophore from the nudibranch Jorunna funebris, pictured on the page for that species. The gymnodorid was scraped off the Jorunna before we realized what it was, so the only photos we have of this act of predation are the ones below showing the black Jorunna rhinophore packed into the gut of the gymnodorid. Most gymnodorids are predators upon other opisthobranch mollusks, but most swallow their prey whole. This is the first instance we know of where the gymnodorid predator simply takes a chunk of a much larger prey.

Created 18 February 2008
Updated 15 February 2009

Return to gymnodorid thumbnails

UnderwaterKwaj home