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Flabellina exoptata
Gosliner & Willan, 1991
 

Flabellina exoptata
Maximum Size:  17 mm.

Identification:  The body of this species is translucent violet but the red-orange color of the gonad may give it an orange hue. The cerata are translucent basally with deep purple bands at the midpoint and white apexes. The white pigment often shades to blue at their tips. The rhinophores are deep orange with densely packed papillae on their posterior margins.

Natural History:  Although apparently rare on the other islands, Flabellina exoptata appears to be moderately common on Oahu in moderately exposed to highly exposed rocky habitats. Most animals have been seen under shaded overhangs at depths of 6-24 m (20-80 ft).  It lays a pink, "kinked" egg mass (usually wrapping it around the stalk of its food hydroid).

Distribution:  Big Island, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  It was first recorded in Hawaii off Pearl Harbor, Oahu by Scott Johnson on Jan. 6, 1977. The name means "much desired," in reference to the beauty of this species. It's referred to as the "desirable nudibranch" in Hoover, 2006 and illustrated under Caloria indica in Hoover, 1998. It was deleted in the 5th printing of Hoover, 2006.

Photo:  PF: 17 mm: found by John Hoover; Lanai Lookout, Oahu; June 12, 1999.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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