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with Halimeda


Cyerce pavonina
Bergh, 1888
Cyerce pavonina
Maximum size:  37 mm.

Identification:  Mature specimens of this species have wedge shaped cerata with evenly distributed tubercles. The cerata are frosted with white dorsally and the spaces between the tubercles are brown. There are one or two small dark "windows" on the dorsal surface of each ceras and a burnt orange line runs along its margin. The rhinophores and notum have extensive brown pigment. However, the overall pattern of mature animals may very considerably from "light" to "dark." In very young animals, the cerata are more strongly inflated and pillow-like with tuberculate margins. They are largely transparent with white frosting and small brown internal spots corresponding to the central "windows" of mature cerata. They also contain small greenish spheres (retained algae?). As the animals grow, the cerata become flatter and develop a reticulate pattern of dark lines that gradually expands into the broader dark pigmentation seen in the cerata of mature individuals. Occasional juveniles may lack all or most dark markings.

Natural history:  Cyerce pavonina is a moderately rare species found in moderately protected to exposed rocky habitats from < 1 to 7 m (< 3 to 23 ft). It seems most common at the shallower and more exposed end of that distribution. We've found it on samples of Halimeda discoidea but we haven't confirmed feeding on that algae. A 37 mm animal laid a roughly oval, cream egg mass 41 mm long by 14-17 mm wide. The egg ribbon was about 3 mm thick.

Distribution:  Maui, Oahu, Kauai and French Frigate Shoals: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific and, perhaps, the eastern Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  This appears to be the species tentatively listed as Cyerce nigricans (Pease, 1866) in Kay, 1979. Cyerce orteai Valdes & Camacho-Garcia (2000) from the eastern Pacific may prove to be a synonym with further work. It was first recorded in Hawaii at Hauula, Oahu by Scott Johnson on April 2, 1978.

Photo:  John Hoover: top, about 37 mm: found by CP; near Diamond Head, Oahu; Oct. 1, 2000.

Observations and comments:

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