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Ceratosoma
sp. #2

 
Ceratosoma sp. #2
Maximum size:  about 19 mm.

Identification:  This small species is translucent pinkish-white with an irregular network of pale-yellow lines in the center of the notum. The lines may be "organized" into a more prominent, elongate loop in some animals and are often associated with low, irregular ridges (sometimes expressed as isolated points). They may be more numerous in older animals. The mantle margin is white, then pale yellow toward the edge. A few widely-spaced purple spots may be present in or near the white marginal band. The posterior portion of the foot is pale yellow. The rhinophores and gills are translucent-gray, sometimes with a hint of orange and opaque white on the rhinophores.

Natural history:  Ceratosoma sp. #2 is a moderately rare species on Maui (though it's apparently more common on Oahu). It may be found on rocky bottoms from 6-24 m (20-80 ft). A 7 mm animal laid a white egg mass of 1 1/4 whorls that was 3 mm in diameter.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai and French Frigate Shoals: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  Although this species is unlike most Ceratosoma spp in size and form, Terry Gosliner (pers. com) reports that both DNA and morphology support placing it in the genus. It was first recorded in Hawaii at Makua, Oahu by Scott Johnson on May 8, 1978.

Photo:  Rebecca Bicker: 10 mm; resting on egg mass?: near Cathedrals II, Lanai; Nov. 14, 2021.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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