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Melibe pilosa
Pease, 1860
 
Melibe pilosa
Maximum size:  120 mm (Kay, 1979).

Identification:  This is a large species with broad, wedge-shaped cerata. It's translucent-cream flecked with opaque cream and brown. Both the body and cerata are finely papillate. The oral hood is large and the rhinophores small.

Natural history:  This is a rare species on Maui where we've only seen four animals: three found under rocks in moderately protected to moderately exposed sites at depths of  3-8 m (10-26 ft), one found in a Halimeda kanalona bed at about 15 m (50 ft). However, Kay (1979) lists it as common on shallow fringing reefs on Oahu where it can be found among algae from the low intertidal to 1.5 m (4 ft). It probably feeds primarily at night and lays a white, folded egg mass. Like many Melibe spp., it can swim by lateral flexing.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui and Oahu: also known from Easter Island.

Taxonomic notes:   It's referred to as the "throw-net nudibranch" in Hoover, 1998 & 2006 and was first reported from Hawaii in Pease, 1860. It's listed as Melibe sp. in Edmondson, 1946.

Photo:  PF: Airport Beach, Maui; April 21, 2013.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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