without orange spots
Chelidonura fulvipunctata Baba, 1938
|Maximum size: 12 mm (excluding
species is usually brown mottled in cream with orange
highlights. Most animals have a "W-shaped" cream mark on the head,
a cream patch on the posterior tip of the head shield and five orange
spots on the front of the head. However, young animals vary
considerably in color with some having uniformly distributed orange
spots or blue lines reminiscent of Chelidonura
hirundinina. The latter still show the five orange spots on
front of the head and the cream posterior tip on the head shield
characteristic of C. fulvipunctata.
have an orange line in the
center of the notum in contrast to the blue line in C. hirundinina. The white "W" may
be interrupted medially in young animals and the length of the "tail"
is a common nocturnal species found in protected to highly exposed
locations. It occurs in rocky habitats at depths of
1-6 m (3-20 ft) and (occasionally) in Halimeda
kanaloana beds at up to 12 m (40 ft). It probably feeds on small
acoelomate flatworms and has been observed "striking" (though
ultimately rejecting) a diurnal Convoluta
sp. (Note 1) A fringe of sensory hairs at the
front of the head is used to detect prey. In dishes, its egg masses
are small, irregular white clumps composed of an irregular string.
However, it is likely that they remain sack-like when laid in the field
where their sticky surfaces can collect detritus for reinforcement.
Hatching occurs in about four days in the laboratory.
Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai and French Frigate Shoals: widely
distributed in the
the species listed as Chelidonura
amoea Bergh, 1905 in Kay, 1979. It was first recorded in Hawaii
from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu by Terry Gosliner in May, 1973. The form with relatively large orange spots extending onto the foot (see photo)
is more common in the Western Pacific and shows some sign of
intergrading with mottled forms in that region. However, there's a
chance that it might ultimately be recognized as a distinct species.
4.6 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; March 30, 2006.
Observations and comments:
1: Several times in 1998 6-8 mm
animals were placed in dishes with 1.5-2 mm acoelomate flatworms of the
species that Poulter tentatively identifies as Convoluta sp. in section two of
Reef and Shore Fauna of Hawaii, 1987. On contact with their sensory
hairs, the worms were "inhaled" with a speed comparable to the feeding
strike of a scorpion fish, e. g., much too fast to make out any details
of the movement. Whether the worm is "on the menu" normally is still
open to question, however, since (in all cases) its crushed remains
were regurgitated about 15-20 seconds after it was taken. It may be
close enough to their normal prey to trigger their feeding reflex but
proves unpalatable after ingestion (perhaps, due to a defensive
chemical?). When offered a second species of 2 mm worm on a later
occasion, they showed no response.