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young, 6 mm



with egg masses

cacaotica (Stimpson, 1855)
Anteaeolidiella cacaotica
Maximum size:  21 mm (Kay, 1979).

Identification:  This species has closely spaced rhinophores and laterally directed cerata. The body is translucent-orange, usually with faint white markings on the notum. The cerata have prominent cnidosacs in their tips and usually have irregular, white subapical bands. The rhinophores and cephalic tentacles usually have white tips.

Natural history: On Maui, Anteaeolidiella cacaotica is a moderately rare species found from the low intertidal to a depth of 15 m (49 ft) in protected to moderately protected rocky areas and in Halimeda kanaloana beds. However, it may be more common in the low intertidal on Oahu (Bertsch and Johnson, 1981). It lays white spiral egg masses composed of a "kinked" ribbon. The eggs hatch in 5-7 days in tanks where they feed on Exaiptasia sp. (Note 1).

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai: widely distributed in the Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  This is the species listed as Aeolidiella takanosimensis in Bertsch & Johnson, 1981. It's also listed as Aeolidiella takanosimiensis in Kay, 1979 and Gosliner, 1980. Some sites list it as Anteaeolidiella indica or Aeolidiella indica. It was first recorded in Hawaii from Poipu, Kauai by Allison Kay in Jan., 1965.

Photo:  Angel Valdes: found by Angel Valdes, Dieta Hanson, Jessica Goodheart or Jennifer Alexander; Kahului Harbor, Maui; June 20, 2011.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Daniel Jennings-Kam observed multiple animals feeding on Exaptasia sp. and laying egg masses over a three week period in the exhibits at the sea life park in Waimanalo (June-July, 2023). On Oct. 12, 2023, he reported that:  "...I have had several batches of eggs hatch and settle into little slugs! It takes about 4 weeks for the egg mass to hatch and the first little slug to be spotted settled out. I raised them how people raise Berghia in the hobby aquarium, basically a closed system with stagnant water with some Exaptasia for food."
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