Aegires exeches Fahey & Gosliner,
|Maximum size: 7 mm.
This is a highly cryptic species elaborately decorated with elongate
papillae that have spiculate tips. Its body is firm in texture and
varies from cream to light brown with darker brown patches. It is
spotted with blue and gold ocelli. (Note 1) Rarely, it may have maroon or orange patches.
Aegires exeches is
a moderately common species found in moderately protected to exposed
rocky habitats as well as Halimeda
kanaloana beds at depths of < 1 to 18 m (< 3 to 59 ft). It
lays a cream to pale green, spiral egg mass that hatches in about four days in
Maui, Kauai and French Frigate Shoals: widely distributed in the
It was first recorded in Hawaii from Hekili Point, Maui by CP on May 22, 1991 and was formerly referred to as Aegires punctilucens.
PF: Feb., 1992.
Observations and comments:
1: The blue
gold ocelli are virtually identical to those found in the sea hares Stylocheilus
striatus and Phycophila euchlora.
Since those species are known to concentrate toxins from the
cyanobacteria they eat, perhaps Aegires
exeches is mimicking their aposematic coloration?