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Gymnodoris alba
(Bergh, 1877)
 
Gymnodoris alba
Maximum size:  11 mm.

Identification:  This species varies from cream to pale pink with relatively large, dark-orange spots. The spots may be proportionately larger and lighter in small juveniles. The cephalic hood is narrow and triangular. The gills are simple and form a complete circle. The rhinophores are tipped with dark orange. The larger and darker-orange spots distinguish it from Gymnodoris sp. # 7.

Natural history:  Gymnodoris alba is a moderately rare species found in protected to exposed rocky habitats from < 1 to 3 m (< 3 to 20 ft). We've seen it eat an Elysia degeneri in a holding dish. (Note 1).

Distribution:  Maui and Oahu: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  It may have first been reported in Hawaii from Maui by PF in June, 1992 but previous confusion with Gymnodoris sp. #7 makes that uncertain. The species listed in Kay, 1979 as G. alba appears to be G. sp. #7 (which has an incomplete circle of gills).

Photo:   CP: 11 mm: Kapalua Bay, Maui; March 28, 2004.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  A 4 mm G. alba attacked an Elysia degeneri about 8 mm in length. It chewed completely through the Elysia's body at the level of the pericardium, killing it, but consumed only a portion of its body. This suggests that the species isn't limited to prey that it can fully engulf. (see photos)
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