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rhinophore sheaths

sp. #1
Phyllidiella sp. #1
Maximum size:  about 18 mm.

Identification:  This species is similar to Phyllidiella pustulosa with a black notum, pink tubercles, black rhinophores and a pink marginal line. However, it differs from that species in having a flatter body, lower tubercles, no black lines ascending the sides of the tubercle clusters, no pink pigment overriding the posterior margins of the rhinophore sheaths and paler pink coloration.

Natural history:  Phyllidiella sp. #1 is known from three animals found in a moderately exposed rocky habitat at a depth of 14 m (46 ft).

Distribution:  Big Island(?) and Oahu: known from Christmas Island and French Polynesia (perhaps, elsewhere in the Pacific) (Note 1)

Taxonomic notes:  Originally misidentified as a juvenile Phyllidiella pustulosa, its DNA proved divergent from that species (Gustav Paulay, pers. com.). On reexamination, it was found to differ from it in several traits. All three of the animals were consistent with each other in those characteristics. They were also consistent with animals photographed at Christmas Island and in French Polynesia. It was probably first recorded in Hawaii during the 2017 MarineGeo at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu by the Invert Team on May 28, 2017.

Photo:  Invert Team: 14 mm: 2017 MarineGeo; Kaneohe Bay, Oahu; May 28, 2017.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  A couple additional on-line photos from the Big Island aren't quite clear enough for a certain ID...
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