Phyllidia sp. e359

One of the most common nudibranchs in the Marshalls cannot easily be put into any of the known species. Like P. tula, P. varicosa, P. carlsonhoffi, and P. elegans, this species bears a black line running from front to back on the bottom of its foot, but it really doesn't fit into any of those species. This is a large phyllidiid, much like P. tula and P. varicosa, but the former has its largest dorsal tubercles surrounded by smaller ones and the latter's tubercles line up and form ridges. Also, the margin of P. tula is mostly black with many small warts, while in P. sp. e359 and P. varicosa, the margins seem mostly light blue with fewer larger orange-tipped warts and streaks of black running from the dorsum toward the margins. For a while I thought it might be a variety of P. varicosa that had its dorsal blue ridges broken up into individual warts, and it may be, but the presence of typical P. varicosa here and no real intermediates would argue against that.. Phyllidia carlsonhoffi, at least what we are calling that species here, averages much smaller and is more elongate, and the tubercles are white towards the bases rather than blue. Also, in P. carlsonhoffi, the bumps tend to be more sparse, causing the animal to appear more like a black animal with scattered colored bumps, while the more crowded bumps of P. sp. e359 gives an overall more pale blue and orange impression. Phyllidia elegans differs in that its bumps have pink bases. Phyllidia sp. e359 looks the same over in Pohnpei as it does at Kwajalein.

This species is one of the Mullerian mimics of P. varicosa.

This ones has more black than usual, but it shows well the arrangement of warts and color along the margin, which is quite different from Phyllidia tula.

This pair ties a couple of the different color forms together.

The color on the margin of the specimen below starts to look a little like that of Phyllidia varicosa.

The photo below is a young specimen, more the length of a typical Phyllidia carlsonhoffi, but the bumps don't look anything like that species, and this animal is a lot more oval rather than elongate.

Not too sure where the next one fits. It almost has some ridging developing, a bit like P. varicosa

Looks like the dorsal bumps on the next one are kind of trying to form ridges.

The next two show top and bottom of a specimen observed on Kwajalein Atoll's seaward reef at a depth of 8m on 31 May 2009.

The foot bottom on this species is mostly somewhat light blue-gray with an irregular longitudinal black line.

This individual wi th eggs was found on 29 November 2013 on the seaward reef.

Created 25 December 2006
Updated 13April 2014

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