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Lamellaria sp. #7
 
Lamellaria sp. #7
Maximum size:  about 18-20 mm.

Identification:  This is an orange species densely maculated with superficial white pigment. It's distinguished from Lamellaria sp. #1 by its white maculation and from Lamellaria sp. #2 by the irregular nature of its white maculation and the dusky highlights in the largest animal.

Natural history:  Lamellaria sp. #7 is known on Maui from two animals, one found in a moderately exposed rocky habitat at about 5 m (15 ft) and one found at about 6 m. (20 ft) in a Halimeda kanaloana bed. Keoki Stender found a similar animal at Kewalo, Oahu, at a depth of 24 m (80 ft). The first Maui animal was associated with a specimen of  Lamellaria sp. #1 on an orange didemnid tunicate showing feeding damage. (Note 1)

Distribution:  Maui and Oahu.

Taxonomic notes:  There is some uncertainty in separating this species from other listed species of Lamellaria. (Note 2) It was first recorded in Hawaii from Kewalo, Oahu by Keoki Stender (as illustrated in the first three photos on the Lamellaria page on his site).

Photo:  CP: about 15-18 mm (estimated from photo): Kapalua Bay, Maui; April 4, 2017.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  The presence of the first Maui animal on a tunicate showing feeding damage might suggest that it eats that species. But, the freshly damaged edges of the tunicate are closely associated with the specimen of  Lamellaria sp. #1, rather than Lamellaria sp. #7. So, the relationship remains inconclusive.

Note 2:  Although the overall form of the Kapalua animal is similar to that of Lamellaria sp. #1 and it was found in close proximity to a "normal" example of that species, the distribution of white pigment would be highly atypical for it. Therefore, we're treating it separately pending further work. Lumping the first and second Maui animals is also somewhat uncertain.
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