Bulla vernicosa Gould, 1859
|Maximum size: 59 mm
(extrapolated from shell length); usually smaller.
This species has a strongly inflated brown shell spotted with white and
streaked with darker brown. The animal is cream frosted with brown and
variably flecked with white. It may be distinguished from Bulla
peasiana by its more strongly inflated and heavily calcified
shell as well as by the smaller translucent areas around the eye spots. (Note 1)
Bulla vernicosa is
a moderately common species found in protected to moderately exposed
mixed habitats and in Halimeda
kanaloana beds at depths of < 1 to 15 m (< 3 to 49 ft).
from the Bishop Museum extend the depth range to at least 183 m (600
ft). It is nocturnal, burying itself in sand or concealing itself under
rocks during the day. It feeds on the green algae Enteromorpha and lays an egg mass
composed of tangled, yellow strings (Kay, 1979). On Oct. 22, 1994 a
tiny, orange commensal copepod was found on a large animal from Airport
Big Island, Maui and Oahu: widely distributed in the western &
photo labeled Bulla vernicosa
in Kay, 1979 is actually Bulla
peasiana (Kay considered that species a synonym of B. vernicosa at the time). The photo in Kay & Schoenberg-Dole, 1991 is also probably Bulla peasiana. It's listed as Bulla adamsi in Quirk & Harrison, 1972, Quirk & Wolfe, 1974 and Tinker, 1958.
Photo: CP: 30
mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Nov. 17, 2006.
Observations and comments:
1: Mykle Hoban reported on Feb. 9, 2017 that shells
found on the bottom off Oahu showed strong red florescence under ultraviolet
light. We subsequently confirmed the observation with a 395 nM UV flashlight. A photo by Marcel Koken of a Bulla sp. from Martinique (posted at Madibenthos) illustrates the phenomenon in the genus.