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young, 2.5 mm


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Placida cremoniana
(Trinchese, 1893)
 
Placida cremoniana
Maximum size:  about 14 mm.

Identification:  This is a distinctive species with a pale orange body that has only a few small cream flecks. The distal half of the cerata, the dorsal surfaces of the rhinophores and the sides of the head are velvet-black.

Natural history:  Placida cremoniana is a moderately rare species found in moderately exposed to highly exposed rocky habitats at depths of < 1 to 3 m (< 3 to 10 ft). It shows a diurnal activity pattern when held and secretes a very strong mucous "drag-line" when dislodged. It may also release opaque, defensive mucus when disturbed in a manner similar to some other sacoglossans. (Note 1) It lays a flattened, cream egg mass that hatches in about three days in the laboratory.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui and Oahu: circumtropical.

Taxonomic notes:  First recorded in Hawaii from Kalepolepo, Maui by PF on Nov. 18, 1991.

Photo:  CP: 11 mm: Ulua Beach, Maui; April 2, 2005.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Narrissa Spies, referring to an animal about 14 mm in length found in a sea table at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, reported that "...when we agitated it to move it away from the side of the dish for photos, it released a burst of iridescent blue mucus (this happened twice in response to our probing)."
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