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on rock

Sacoproteus smaragdinus
(Baba, 1949)
Sacoproteus smaragdinus
Maximum size:  15 mm.

Identification:  This is a relatively large, olive-green species with spindle-shaped, slightly iridescent cerata. The distal portions of the cerata are darker green and their inner surfaces are weakly tuberculate with white flecks. The rhinophores are tipped with white and there is a dark olive-green line running across the head between the eye spots.

Natural history:  Sacoproteus smaragdinus is a rare species known from only three animals found in tide pools at rocky, highly exposed sites. (Note 1)

Distribution:  Maui and Oahu: widely distributed in Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  It was first recorded in Hawaii from Mokolea, Maui by PF on April 24, 1994. There's some uncertainty in lumping the Hawaiian population with those from elsewhere in the Pacific.

Photo:  PF: 11 mm: Mokolea Point, Maui; April 24, 1994.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  On Sept. 30, 2000 two animals were found in an algae wash from a tide pool at Makapu`u Point, Oahu. The wash included extensive patches of Caulerpa taxifolia as well as smaller amounts of  C. ceratularioides and C. racemosa. Later, the animals showed no interest in pieces of those algae when they were offered in a dish.
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