trio on polyp
Baeolidia cf. harrietae (Rudman, 1982)
|Maximum size: ( )
is a flattened, translucent-brown aeolid. The notum is densely flecked
with white and the rhinophores have sparse, pointed papillae. The brown
cerata are tipped with white and the rhinophores have white apexes.
Baeolidia cf. harrietae
is known from three animals found resting (and, presumably, feeding) on a Palythoa
polyp at a moderately
exposed, rocky site at about 6 m (20 ft). They probably conceal
themselves at the base of the polyp by day and move up onto the polyp to
feed at night. Unlike most members of its family, it
zoanthiniarians rather than on anemones. (Note 1)
Maui: possibly also known from the Western Pacific.
Taxonomic notes: This animal is similar to Baeolidia harietae
as illustrated in Gosliner, et. al. (2018). However, considering its
small size and the large range extension, we're using "cf" pending
confirmation. Baeolidia harietae is listed on some sites (including WoRMS) as Aeolidiopsis harrietae. It's also similar to Baeolidia palythoae (= Aeolidiopsis palythoea) from the western Indian Ocean. It was first recorded in Hawaii from Black Rock, Maui by David Leonhardt on April 29, 2022.
Photo: David Leonhardt: pair, 1-1.5 mm: night dive; Black Rock, Maui; April 29, 2022.
Observations and comments:
1: Although the ID isn't certain, the size and characteristics of the contracted polyp they are on suggest that it may be Palythoa toxica, a species known to occur in small quantities at the site.