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young, 2.8 mm

few spots

with algae


with egg mass


Haminoea cymbalum
(Quoy & Gaimard, 1833)
Haminoea cymbalum
Maximum size:  30 mm (extrapolated from shell length).

Identification:  This species has a strongly inflated transparent shell without spiral striae. The animal is bluish-green with bright orange spots. Larger orange spots bordered in white show through the shell. It can be distinguished from Haminoea ovalis and Haminoea sp. #1 by its lack of purple spots.

Natural history:  Haminoea cymbalum is a moderately common diurnal species that can be found in rocky habitats at moderately exposed to highly exposed sites. It occurs in tide pools on wave-washed platforms and subtidally to depths of about 8 m (25 ft) and is often seen in pairs or groups. Rarely, filamentous green algae grow on the shell. It lays an elongate, cream egg mass that is attached by an adhesive surface rather than a mucous string. The eggs form a "slinky-like" spiral in the interior.

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

Taxonomic notes:  This species is referred to as the "cymbal bubble shell" in Hoover, 1998 & 2006. Clay Carlson and Patty Jo Hoff suggest on the Sea Slug Forum that Haminoea simillima Pease, 1868 might be the preferred name for it due to inability to confidently identify the type material of the earlier H. cymbalum. It's probably listed in Severns, 2011 as Haminoea sp. 3 and is mislabelled as Phaneropthalmus cf. cylindricus in the live photo on page 418. Haminoea aperta oahuensis Pilsbry, 1917 is also a synonym (Kay, 1979) and it is listed under that name in Edmondson, 1946 and Tinker, 1958. It's also listed in Ostergaard, 1955 and Ostergaard, 1950 as Haminoea crocata (probably due to a misinterpretation of the match to Pease's shell description of that species). It was probably first reported from Hawaii in Pilsbry, 1917.

Photo:  CP: Hekili Point, Maui; Oct. 31, 2004.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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