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no purple

young, 1.8 mm



egg mass

Haminoea ovalis
Pease, 1868
Haminoea ovalis
Maximum size:  18 mm.

Identification:  This species has a strongly inflated transparent shell without spiral striae. The animal is translucent green variably spotted with orange and purple. Younger animals are often darker than mature ones with proportionately larger spots. As the animals mature, they develop fine rust-brown flecks first on the foot, then on the rest of the body. Rarely, the purple spots may be lacking. It can be distinguished from Haminoea cymbalum by its extensive purple spotting and from Haminoea sp. #1 by its smaller orange spots.

Natural history:  Haminoea ovalis is a common nocturnal species found at highly protected to moderately protected sites in rocky and mixed habitats as well as in Halimeda kanaloana beds. It occurs at depths of < 1 to 12 m (< 3 to 39 ft). It is usually associated with patches of the blue-green algae Lyngbya on which it probably feeds. Copulating pairs are often found crawling together at night with the head of the trailing animal overlapping the "tail" of the other. (Note 1) It lays an elongate, white to faintly greenish egg mass containing a "slinky-like" egg string and attached by an adhesive surface. The egg masses usually acquire a coating of sand or detritus in the field and hatch in about four days in the laboratory.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Midway: widely distributed in the western & central Pacific; also in the eastern Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  This species is probably listed in Severns, 20ll as Haminoea sp. 2 cf. ovalis.

Photo:  CP: 17 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Nov. 16, 2002.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Although not visible from the top, the greatly elongated penis of the posterior animal is inserted in the genital aperture of the first one while they are crawling. When a pair was carefully collected on Sept. 30, 1997 they remained "attached" for over 24 hours before separating.
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