Melibe sp. #1
|Maximum size: about 90 mm.
is a semi-translucent, golden-brown species with a small oral hood. (Note 1) The
cerata are spindle-shaped with densely tuberculate
surfaces and a few short, irregularly branching apical processes.
The apical processes are decorated with brown and cream flecks.
crests are broad and largely transparent with a few golden-brown flecks.
gizzards are light brick-red and there are short processes on the
body. Faint brown patches may be visible on the body and cerata when they are flexed for swimming.
Natural history: The first Melibe
sp. #1 was found in a
wave-washed tide pool at Maalaea Bay at a depth of < 1 m (< 3 ft).
Since then, multiple animals have been found at a depth of 7-9 m (22-31 ft) in a patchy Halimeda kanaloana bed at the same site. All appeared very similar to a fussy alga that was present in their vicinity. (Note 2)
Maui. perhaps, known from Indonesia?
Taxonomic notes: It may be the species listed as "Melibe
sp. #1" in Gosliner, et. al. (2018). However, the processes are shorter
and the rhinophore crests larger in the Hawaiian animal. It was
first recorded in Hawaii from Maalaea Bay, Maui by Karolle Wall on Feb. 9, 2019.
Photo: Karolle Wall: about 90 mm: Maalaea Bay, Maui; Feb. 9, 2019.
Observations and comments:
Note 1: All subsequent animals found in deeper water were paler than the first one that was found in the shallows.
Note 2: Perhaps, this species is mimicking the alga (Chrysonephos lewisii?) shown next to it in this photo?