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Polybranchia
cf. jannae Madrano, Krug, Gosliner, Kumar & Valdes, 2018
 
Polybranchia jannae
Maximum size:  about 7 mm.

Identification:  This species has broad, leaf-like, tuberculate cerata with serrated edges. The tubercles are tipped with white and irregular networks of fine white lines ascend the cerata. They contain small, granular subapical masses and the outer faces of some have basal patches of diffuse, brick-red pigment that may appear denser when they contract. There are elongate black and diffuse white medial patches on their inner faces. The marginal serrations contain faintly iridescent violet spots. The rhinophores are translucent-cream with golden brown patches.

Natural history:  Polybranchia cf. jannae is known from one animal found crawling on sand-saturated algal turf during the day. It was found at a depth of 4 m (12 ft) at a moderately exposed site. If this animal is representative, it readily autotomizes its central cerata.

Distribution:  Maui: may be known from the western Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  This species is similar to some animals assigned to Polybranchia jannae from the western Pacific. However, the match is imperfect so we're treating the ID as tentative pending more material. (Note 1) Similar animals from elsewhere can be seen at Lazy Diving and Sea Slug World. It was first recorded in Hawaii from Maalaea Bay, Maui by Jenna Szerlag on March 23, 2021.

Photo:  Jenna Szerlag: about 7 mm; cerata contracted with some autotomized and adhering to others: Maalaea Bay, Maui; March 23, 2021.

Observations and comments:

Note 1: There may also be some ambiguity associated with interpreting the characters of autotomized cerata.
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