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Cerberilla
sp. #2

 
Cerberilla sp. #2
Maximum size:  8 mm.

Identification:  The body of this animal is cream with extensive white pigment on the notum and closely set, brick-red rhinophores. The cerata are cream flecked with white and the lateral cerata have dark brown bases. The cephalic tentacles are very long.

Natural history:  Cerberilla sp. #2 is a moderately common aeolid found in Halimeda kanaloana beds at depths of 8-30 m (25-100 ft). It showed diurnal activity and strong positive phototaxis when held in a dish. It probably feeds on sand-dwelling anemones. (Note 1)

Distribution:  Big Island and Maui.

Taxonomic notes:  This animal appears similar to one that was formerly illustrated as Cerberilla sp #2 on Robert Bolland's Okinawa site. It was first recorded in Hawaii from off the Lahaina waterfront, Maui by CP on Oct. 8, 2008.

Photo:  CP: 7 mm: found by PF; near McGregor Point, Maui; Nov. 7, 2008.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  While held, one of the animals appeared to take a few "bites" out of the disk of a small anemone (Anemonia mutabilis?) before breaking off. However, there was little apparent damage to the anemone and it didn't resume feeding on it over the next 24 hours.
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