Aegires villosus Farran, 1905

At least seven specimens of Aegires villosus have been recorded in the Marshalls from Enewetak Atoll, and at least a dozen from Kwajalein. Most were under rocks on lagoon and pinnacle reefs at depths of 5 to 20 meters, and they measured from 5 to 9mm in length. Several smaller individuals have been found by Christina Sylvester in the Kwajalein reef quarries at 1 to 2m. The Marshall Islands specimens were all more heavily pigmented with magenta and orange than those from other areas figured on the Sea Slug Forum as well as those we have seen in the Philippines and Indonesia. It is possible that out here on the periphery of this species' range it is evolving away from the standard form found closer to the center of distribution.

The specimen below was found and photographed by Christina Sylvester in a shallow reef quarry at Kwajalein. While its color mostly fits with the Enewetak specimens figured above, the generally shorter warts and scattered dark spots are not typical. The white, apparently calcareous sponge it is crawling across appears to be this nudibranch's food source.

A few more shots of the single Kwajalein specimen.

Two more small specimens from a Kwajalein reef quarry found by Christina Sylvester. The first is a very tiny, 4mm or less, and is on its apparent prey sponge.

This one was a little larger and has a bit more white color, more like the Enewetak specimens.

Created 3 January 2007
Updated 20 August 2016

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