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Lobiger
cf. souverbii
Fisher, 1856
 
Lobiger cf. souverbii
Maximum size:  32 mm.

Identification:  This distinctive species is brilliant green with elongate, frilled lobes projecting from the edges of its parapodia. Bright blue spots connected by dark blue-green lines show through its transparent shell.

Natural history:  Lobiger cf. souverbii is a rarely seen species found in tide pools and shallow rocky habitats at depths of < 1 to 6 m (< 3 to 20 ft) where it is associated with various algae of the genus Caulerpa. It is found in protected to exposed locations. Mature animals are diurnally active but may remain in the open when resting at night. When disturbed, they "flare" the mantle lobes, presumably to elicit a startle response in predators, and may autotomize the lobes. They can also emit a milky fluid. We have observed them feeding on Caulerpa taxifolia, Caulerpa ceratularioides, Caulerpa serrulata and the large form of Caulerpa racemosa in dishes. (Note 1) The egg mass is a tightly coiled, cream spiral and the eggs hatch in about five days in the laboratory.

Distribution:  Maui, Oahu and Midway: possibly circumtropical.

Taxonomic notes:  Some authors use Lobiger viridis Pease, 1863 for the Indo-Pacific population (see the Sea Slug Forum for further discussion). It's possible that the Pacific and Atlantic populations may ultimately be found to be distinct.

Photo:  CP: 8.5 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Oct. 7, 2002.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  A captive animal with a shell length of 1.8 mm and a missing mantle lobe regenerated the lobe and grew to a shell length of 5.2 mm in 60 days. It was fed primarily on Caulerpa serrulata.
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