Gymnodoris sp. e517

This gymnodorid nudibranch is known from several specimens found on the lagoon eastern reef of Kwajalein Atoll. The first was a tiny one that measured only 6mm and appeared to be juvenile (bottom photo). The second was larger, possible about 15mm, although the specimen escaped before it could be measured. The first shot shows the 15mm animal. Although small, we think the orange visible through the body wall is part of the reproductive system, suggesting that this specimen is mature and not likely a juvenile of Gymnodoris ceylonica or G. rubropapulosa, both of which have large orange spots but are much larger in body size. Coloration and shape of the rhinophores and gills, lack of color on the foot margin, and the shape of the anterior end also separate this one from those two similar species. A third specimen measuring 22mm was found on 28 September 2008 and is shown in the second and third photos below. Several more have been observed since. Most specimens have been found crawling on bare sand at depths of about 7-9m. The smallest specimen was found at a depth of 8 meters in a Halimeda patch. This appears to be the animal figured by Gosliner et al (2008) as Gymnodoris sp. 6.

The 22mm specimen is shown in the next two photos. We saw this animal depositing an egg mass, showing that it was definitely mature.

The animal in the two shots below was found on 17 November 2008.

Here is the 6mm specimen.

A specimen measuring 13mm and found crawling on sand on a Kwajalein Atoll lagoon reef on 20 October 2008 is shown below.

A specimen found on 4 September 2011 ate two specimens of Nakamigawaia felis, which released an orange cloud as it was being consumed. The gymnodorid showed no interest in a small Chelidonura cf sandrana.

Created 12 July 2008
Updated 25 September 2011

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