Plakobranchus ocellatus is very common in some areas in the Marshalls, and has been found in good numbers at Enewetak, Kwajalein, and Bikini Atolls. It is most commonly found intertidally, in reef quarries, and on shallow lagoon reefs and pinnacles. It is the preferred food item for the carnivorous nudibranch Gymnodoris striata. Like a number of other sacoglossans, it harvests chloroplasts from the plant cells it eats and stores them under its parapodia, two flaps that cover its back and meet in the middle. With care, you can gently push the two flaps apart to see the green chloroplasts underneath, where they are able to continue their photosynthetic process and produce food and oxygen that can be used by the slug. This species is also abundant on some shallow Hawaiian reefs.
Created 27 January 2007
Updated 17 May 2012
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