Phyllidiella pustulosa Cuvier, 1804
|Maximum size: about 51 mm
species is elongate with low, irregularly-shaped clusters of
smooth, conical pink tubercles on
a black notum. The tubercles are usually simple and grouped in clusters
with little or no black showing within the cluster. The mantle margin
is edged in pale pink and the rhinophores
are black. When seen underwater with the human eye, the animal may
appear to have gray-green tubercles against a black background due to
the absence of red light in deeper water. It can be distinguished from
the rarely-seen Phyllidiopsis
fissurata by its continuous pink marginal line and solid
is commonly found in the open in rocky habitats. It lives in moderately
protected to highly exposed areas at
of 4-26 m (13-85 ft). It
has been observed feeding on an orange encrusting sponge of the genus Stylinos.
Big Island, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Niihau, French Frigate Shoals and
is probably the species listed as Fryeria
ruppelli Bergh, 1889b in Kay, 1979 and as Phyllidia pustulosa in Bertsch and
Johnson, 1981. (Note 1) The name means "full of
pustules" referring to the many pink tubercles. It is referred to as
"pustulose Phyllidia" in Hoover, 1998 & 2006.
Haloa Point, Maui; June 18, 2007.
Observations and comments:
1: The photo in Kay's Fig. 153 appears to show a typical P. pustulosa. However, her statement that the rhinophores are white is anomalous.