Flabellina sp. #2
|Maximum Size: about 25 mm (Keoki Stender).
of this aeolid is translucent white with patches
of opaque white and a thin purple medial line running the length of the
notum. Two other lines run down the sides of the body. The cerata are
translucent with opaque white subapically and
purple, shading to white, at there tips. The digestive gland is visible
and is usually tan although the tissue of the cerata may be yellow in some animals. (Note 1) The pale orange rhinophores have fine papillae on
their posterior margins.
Flabellina sp. #2
is a rare species on Maui where it is known from only four animals found in
moderately protected to moderately exposed locations. Their habitats ranged from rocky areas
at 15 m (50 ft) to Halimeda
kanaloana beds at 32 m (105 ft). It appears to be more common on
Oahu and has been found at 12 m (39 ft) on Kauai. It probably feeds on a
yellow hydroid. (Note 2) It lays a white (or, very pale pink?) egg mass, usually on its food hydroid.
Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific;
introduced to the Mediterranean.
Taxonomic notes: It was first
in Hawaii from off Makena, Maui by PF on June 7, 1994.
Gosliner, et. al. (2018) restricts Flabellina rubrolineata
to the Indian Ocean. So, we're using F. sp. #2 pending further DNA work.
Photo: Lars Snitker: found by Tiffany Winn; Reef's End, Molokini Islet, Maui; Dec. 28, 2011.
Observations and comments:
1: The yellow pigment in the cerata
of some Oahu animals seems to be in the tissue rather than the digestive
gland. However, it closely matches the hue of at least one of the hydroids it eats. (see photo) Perhaps, it's extracting the pigment from its food?
April McCormack reported finding three animals on a white hydroid on
Kauai. So, it may feed on more than one species. Or, the hydroid it eats
may vary in color.