Nembrotha cristata Bergh, 1877

Nembrotha cristata is sporadically common at Kwajalein Atoll, but was never located despite extensive searching at Enewetak. At Kwajalein, it can be found on seaward or lagoon interisland reefs, but it prefers lagoon pinnacles, where it lives in ledges and under rocks and eats a dark green colonial tunicate. In September, 1998 and August, 2000, we saw dozens feeding on the green tunicates on top of a shallow (2 meter depth) lagoon pinnacle near Onemak Island. In September, 2002, and other more recent trips to the same pinnacle, there were none. More recently, another lagoon pinnacle near the southern end of Kwajalein Atoll was the site of almost an invasion of the dark green tunicate, which covered much of the bare rock on the reef. Soon after, numerous Nembrotha cristata and a few N. kubaryana were found feeding on the tunicate colonies. A year later, most of the tunicate was gone and no more nudibranchs were present. Populations do seem to come and go.We have seen this species at Pohnpei and in the Solomon Islands.

The large individual below was eating the small green tunicates near the lower right side of the photo.

Several were found on a lagoon pinnacle on 15 September 2013.

Feeding on the dark green colonial tunicate Sigillina signifera.

Created 3 January 2007
Updated 5September 2016

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