Phyllidiella pustulosa Cuvier, 1804
|Maximum size: about 51 mm
is elongate with low, irregularly-shaped clusters of
smooth, conical, pink tubercles on
a black notum. The tubercles are usually simple and there are occasional
black lines ascending the sides of larger clusters. 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. (see photo) It can be distinguished from Phyllidiopsis
fissurata by its continuous pink marginal line and solid
black rhinophores. It can be distinguished from Phyllidiella sp. #1 by the pink pigment overriding the posterior margins of the rhinophore sheaths.
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.