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Unidentified Discodorid #5
Unidentified Discodorid #5
Maximum size:  about 80 mm.

Identification:  This is a violet-cream dorid blotched with violet-brown and flecked with white. It is superficially similar to Discodoris lilacina but differs from that species in having smaller lateral brown patches and in having smooth, somewhat elongate papillae that are uniform in size.

Natural history:  On Maui, unidentified discodorid #5 is a moderately rare nocturnal dorid. The one animal we've seen, personally, was found in a tide pool at a moderately exposed rocky site. When resting during the day, it contracted to only 25 mm in length and became very firm to the touch. When active at night, it stretched to 45 mm and was much softer. When disturbed, it flattened its mantle and swam in a manner reminiscent of Hexabranchus. Unlike Discodoris lilacina, it didn't autotomize portions of its mantle even during extensive handling. It laid a cream egg mass with a ruffled edge. Six additional Maui animals were found in the shallow subtidal in a similar habitat.

Distribution:  Maui and Oahu: possibly known from Australia? (Discodoris sp.2 on the Sea Slug Forum).

Taxonomic notes:  This species may be a Sebadoris. But, it probably isn't Sebadoris nubilosa since it doesn't autotomize portions of its mantle, has shorter papillae and doesn't secrete copious mucus (traits listed for the latter species in Kay, 1979). It's possible that it might fall within the range of variation of Sebadoris fragilis but that species seems to have more pointed and more irregular papillae. It was first recorded in Hawaii from Napili Bay, Maui by CP on Sept. 13, 1995.

Photo:  CP: 45 mm: Napili Bay, Maui; Sept. 13, 1995.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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