Goniobranchus reticulatus (Pease, 1866)

This species is often considered a form of Goniobranchus tinctorius (see Chromodoris tinctoria on the Sea Slug Forum for details). It could be. Apparently there are no real differences in the internal anatomy of different forms that are all considered this species. However, we saw five of these animals in the Solomons, four on night dives at Savo Island on 20 and 21 August 1987 and one more at Twin Tunnels, Nggela, during the day on 1 April 1994. All of them had the color pattern of the one figured below, which is consistently different from all the many specimens of Goniobranchus tinctorius we have seen in the Marshall Islands. Seeing consistent differences in geographically separate populations would seem to have to be an indication of genetic differences between those populations. Are those differences enough to warrant separate species status? I don't know. But is seems safest to keep them separate for now until additional evidence, perhaps DNA comparisons, are done to confirm or deny their relationship.

Created 1 January 2008
Updated 1 July 2012

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