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GALLERY



 
Elysia
sp. #6
 
Elysia sp. #6
Maximum size:  7 mm.

Identification:  This is a small, highly cryptic species with two chimneys on its parapodia, the anterior much taller than the posterior, and prominent ridges on the front of its head. Typical animals are mottled in cream and brown, often with a peach tinge. Most have prominent white patches in front of the parapodia and anterior to the tip of the foot, however one or both of them may be absent. Occasionally, the parapodia may be gray or a black patch may be present on top of the head. A bluish sheen may be visible in front of the rhinophores, turquoise spots may appear above the eyes and green patches may occur on the edges of the taller chimney. The rhinophores are short, usually with a translucent medial band. The body surface ranges from nearly smooth to strongly papillate and occasional animals have greatly elongate papillae on the posterior margins of one or both rhinophores.

Natural history:  Elysia sp. #6 is a common, though seldom seen, plakobranchid found on rocky bottoms. It occurs in moderately protected to moderately exposed locations from < 1 to 18 m (3-59 ft). Mature individuals are diurnally active and the parapodia are jerked intermittently while crawling. Animals as little as 3 mm in length are sexually mature. The yellow to orange egg masses are tightly coiled spirals only 1-2 mm in diameter and the egg ribbon has a somewhat wrinkled surface. Two or three irregular bands of superficial pigment are usually present on the egg ribbon and range from cream to light orange in color. Hatching occurs in about five days in the laboratory and the pigment bands remain in the mass after hatching.

Distribution:  Maui, Oahu and Kauai: widely distributed in the western & central Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  First recorded in Hawaii from Kapalua Bay, Maui by CP on April 22, 1996.

Photo:  CP: 4.5 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; June 3, 2003.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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