Polybranchia orientalis (Kelaart, 1858)

Polybranchia orientalis has been found in the Marshalls at Kwajalein and Enewetak Atolls. Color varies from the green figured in the specimens below to a light brown to yellow. It lives under rocks on lagoon and seaward reefs at depths of 1 to at least 20 meters. Two measured specimens were 28 and 43mm in length. We also saw a specimen in Hawaii.

Below are a couple of specimens showing more brown color.

The following specimen was found in a Halimeda patch on a Kwajalein lagoon reef on 29 August 2010. It was larger than any of those above, measuring about 80mm. Its size and appearance tie together Polybranchia orientalis and P. sp. e548, which we have listed as a potential different species due to its size and appearace. It seems most likely they are all P. orientalis.

Note the arrangement of the dorsal paddle bases visible below.

I have to wonder how many of these I pass by without seeing.

This one was at about 25m depth in an algae patch on a lagoon slope.

Specimens were fairly common during the summer of 2016

Created 2 February 2007
Updated 2 October 2016

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