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Unidentified Discodorid #18
 
Unidentified Discodorid #18
Maximum size:  3  mm.

Identification:  This is a small, bright-orange dorid. (Note 1) The notum appears smooth with dusky blotches and minute brown flecks. The rhinophores are conical with short nipple-like tips. The posterior faces of the rhinophores are orange but their tips and anterior faces appear to have brown and cream maculations. There are six orange branchia with opaque white pigment on the rachis and a few faint white flecks on the edges. The anal papilla is white. Alex Dutcher described it as "firm to the touch."

Natural history:  Unidentified discodorid #18 is known from one animal found at a moderately protected, back-reef site in a mixed habitat. It was found at night at a depth of about 2.4 m (8 ft).

Distribution:  Kauai.

Taxonomic notes:  It seems most likely that this species is a discodorid but the family remains somewhat uncertain. Superficially, it looks closest to Rostanga but the smooth surface and broad branchia seem atypical. It lacks the dorsal ridges of Diaulula sp. #1. It was first recorded in Hawaii from Lawa'i Beach (Beach House), Kauai by Alex Dutcher on Sept. 15, 2018.

Photo:  Kyle Pias: 3 mm: found by Alex Dutcher; Lawa'i Beach (Beach House), Kauai; Sept. 15, 2018.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Alex says that the color in the field was closer to the darker-orange shots from her camera than the lighter-orange close-ups from Kyle's camera.
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