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Phyllodesmium
sp. #3
 
Phyllodesmium sp. #3
Maximum size:  about 25 mm.

Identification:  The body of this animal is violet-cream with touches of blue iridescence. The cerata, rhinophores  and cephalic tentacles are tipped with greenish-cream. Slender branches of the digestive gland ramify throughout the body, cerata, rhinophores and cephalic tentacles (but do not form side pockets). (Note 1)

Natural history:  Phyllodesmium sp. #3 is known from a single animal found in a shaded, rocky habitat at about 17 m (55 ft). Although the site is exposed to strong currents/surge, it was crawling in the open, by day, in a somewhat protected micro-habitat. (Eric Shewchuk, pers. com.)

Distribution:  Niihau.

Taxonomic notes:  It was first recorded in Hawaii from Pyramid Point, Niihau by Eric Shewchuk on May 2, 2019.

Photo:  Eric Shewchuk: about 25 mm: Pyramid Point, Niihau; May 2, 2019.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  An examination of the original photos failed to yield any indication of structure underlining the cream pigment on the cerata suggesting that they lack cnidosacs. Although there remains some possibility that the fine lines represent pigment rather than the digestive gland, an examination of the original photos failed to reveal any other internal structure in the cerata except for a faint granularity. It also suggested that the lines dip into and out of lower tissues rather than being superficial.
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