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Phanerophthalmus
smaragdinus
(Ruppell & Leuckart, 1828)
 
Phanerophthalmus smaragdinus
Maximum size:  30 mm.

Identification:  This animal has a translucent shell with a greatly expanded aperture and an outer lip that projects well above the apex. The shell is external but only about 1/8 the length of the animal and almost completely covered by the parapodia. The animal is cream densely flecked with olive green.

Natural history:  Phanerophthalmus smaragdinus is a rare species in protected back reef habitats at < 1 m (< 3 ft) with only one animal seen. However, we've found a number of shells in sand samples from Halimeda kanaloana beds and Kay, 1979 states that it has been dredged from 50 m (164 ft) suggesting that it is more common in deeper water. Our one live animal showed a nocturnal activity pattern while held. It laid a lozenge-shaped, white egg mass with densely packed eggs that measured 9 by 6 mm. The mass was attached by an adhesive surface and hatched in four days.

Distribution:  Maui, Oahu, French Frigate Shoals and Midway: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  The drawing of this animal in Kay, 1979 is mislabeled as Phanerophthalmus cylindricus. Also, the shell listed as this species in Severns, 2011 probably falls within the range of variation for P. cylindricus, instead.

Photo:  CP: 30 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Oct. 26, 1999.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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