Phyllidiopsis loricata (Bergh, 1873)
|Maximum size: 19 mm. (David reported his animal as "20-25 mm")
has a white body, typically with 8-10 large black spots encircling the
mid-dorsal area and smaller spots scattered randomly among them.
The notum is opaque-white becoming translucent-white around the mantle
margin. Upon close examination, iridescent striae can be seen in the
center of the notum representing embedded spicules radiating from the
midline. Many tiny tubercles cover the notum and line up
medially in several low, longitudinal ridges giving the animal a rough
appearance. The fused oral tentacles are very large for the animal’s
size. It can be distinguished from Phyllidia
scottjohnsoni by the lack of black spots mid-dorsally and
presence of fused oral tentacles.
is a rare species found under rocks or on shaded walls in moderately
highly exposed locations from 6-43 m (20-141 ft). We have observed it
sponge. (Note 1)
Big Island, Maui and Oahu: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.
was first recorded in Hawaii at Pupukea, Oahu by Scott Johnson on July
1979. The name means “equipped
with a piece of close-fitting armor,” perhaps for the rough appearance
notum. It's referred to as the "armored Phyllidia" in the 2019 printing of Hoover, 2006.
Severns: 18 mm: Maalaea Bay, Maui; Sept. 21, 1987.
Observations and comments:
1: Keoki Stender also illustrates it on white sponges on his site and suggests that it may feed on Leiodermatium sp. although the identity of the sponges in the photos is somewhat uncertain...