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side
 

cerata detail
 

underside, faded
 

2nd animal
 

on food alga




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

Identification:  This species has a cream body with scattered white flecks and green branches of the digestive gland extending into the sides of the head and the basses of the rhinophores. There are many slender cerata and the digestive gland forms ascending fine branches in their centers. The outermost branches in the cerata are dark green and the tips of the cerata are filled with cream masses (glandular?).

Natural history:  Ercolania sp. #7 is a rare species known on Maui from only two animals found in protected to moderately protected back reef areas as a depth of < 1 m (< 3 ft). They showed a diurnal activity pattern when held and assumed a partially contracted, pompom-like posture when resting. One animal held for four days without food lost much of its green pigment. An additional 4-5 animals were found by Nikki Decker in clumps of Cladophoropsis sundanensis collected from a tide pool at Makapu'u Beach, Oahu (suggesting that it feeds on that alga).

Distribution:  Maui and Oahu.

Taxonomic notes:  First recorded in Hawaii from Hekili Point, Maui by CP on June, 25, 1997.

Photo:  CP: 6 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Nov. 29, 2004.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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