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Chelidonura
sp. #6
 
Chelidonura sp. #6
Maximum size: about 6 to 9 mm.

Identification:  This is a small, red-orange to violet-black animal with a narrow white band on the posterior margin of its head shield. The "tails" are highly asymmetric with the left elongate and the right truncate.

Natural history:  Chelidonura sp. #6 is known from only three animals found in a large tide pool at a depth of  < 1 m (about 2 ft). (Note 1) Like other Chelidonura spp., they may discharge an orange fluid when disturbed. They may also change color from red-orange to violet-black. (Note 2)

Distribution:  Big Island. may be known from the western Pacific? (based on on-line photos).

Taxonomic notes:  It was probably first recorded in Hawaii from Kapoho Tidepools, Big Island by Ralph Turre on Nov. 29, 2017. However, there's some chance that it might ultimately turn out to be a live Chelidonura(?) sp #3.

Photo:  Ralph Turre: about 6-9 mm: Kapoho Tidepools, Big Island; Nov. 29, 2017.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Ralph Turre reported that they were found in a large pool up to 3.6 m (12 ft) in depth that was located about 91 m (300 yards) from the ocean breakwater and about 30  m (100 yards) from an area where rainwater flows into the pool. They were found under a rock on a "shallow gravel slope near the crest of a ledge with a small amount of larger rock debris." The area showed signs of freshwater influx when they were found although he reported the presence of other typically marine species (including Chelidonura hirundinina) in the immediate vicinity suggesting that its impact is probably transient.

Note 2:  Ralph Turre reported that all three animals were red-orange when first observed but that two changed color when disturbed. He stated that: "The transition of one animal was almost immediate, began in the area of the head and extended rapidly through the entire body. Another one also began to turn purple but then returned to its original color." In addition, he observed one animal discharging orange fluid.
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