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heavily spotted


young, atypical

sp. #1
Mourgona sp. #1
Maximum size:  around 20 mm (not recorded at time).

Identification:  Mature animals of this species have flattened leaf-like cerata covered with small tubercles. The body is translucent cream, liberally flecked with white, orange and dark purple. There is a cluster of more prominent purple spots on top of the head behind the eye spots. Greenish-brown branches of the digestive gland can be seen in the bases of the cerata. Very young animals have smoother and more cylindrical cerata with more prominent branches of the digestive gland and fewer purple, orange and white spots. Also, the cluster of spots on their heads tends to be reddish-purple.

Natural history:  Mourgona sp. #1 is a moderately rare nocturnal species found in protected to moderately exposed rocky habitats at depths of < 1 to 9 m (< 3 to 30 ft). It appears to be most common at less than 1 m (3 ft). It contracts its cerata rhythmically while crawling.

Distribution:  Maui and Kauai: may have been recorded from Guam and the Philippines.

Taxonomic notes:  First recorded in Hawaii from Hekili Point, Maui by CP in Aug., 1989. It was previously listed as a Cyerce sp. (Note 1)

Photo:  PF: around 20 mm; some cerata autotomized?: found by CP; Hekili Point, Maui; Aug., 1989.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  A juvenile animal found at Hekili Point Maui in 2018 had violet spots on its cerata and black flecks behind the eye, resembling animals illustrated as "Mourgona sp. 2" in Gosliner, et. al, (2018). (see photo) Mourgona sp. #1 is considered endemic to Hawaii but closely related to "Mourgona sp. 2." Meanwhile, the violet spots in "Mourgona sp 2" appear to be absent or weakly expressed in juveniles from elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific. It seems most likely that this is a matter of a character being rarely expressed in Hawaii but commonly expressed elsewhere. But, there remains a chance that both species occur in Hawaii.
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