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larger spots


sp. #4
Mourgona sp. #4
Maximum size:  about 25 mm.

Identification:  Like Mourgona sp. #1, mature animals of this species have flattened, leaf-like cerata covered with small tubercles. The body is translucent cream liberally flecked with white, orange and dark purple. Unlike that species, there is a diffuse patch of violet pigment in the tip of each ceras and no cluster of purple spots on top of the head. The greenish-brown branches of the digestive gland in the cerata have noticeably sparser side branches than in Mourgona sp. #1.

Natural history:  Mourgona sp. #4 is known from several animals found at a moderately protected site at a depth of 1-2 m (3-6 ft). Unlike in M. sp, #1, the mature animals were found in the open during the day and one became quiescent in a dish at night suggesting diurnal behavior. Like M. sp. #1, it may contract its cerata rhythmically while crawling.

Distribution:  Maui. Widely distributed in the Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  It was first recorded in Hawaii from Hekili Point, Maui by CP on April 22, 2018. It appears identical to "Mourgona sp. 2" in Gosliner, et. al, (2018). (Note 1)

Photo:  CP: 15 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; April 18, 2019.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Two major color differences in the mature animals combined with the difference in side branches of the digestive gland suggest that Mourgona sp. #1 and Mourgona sp. #4 are distinct and sympatric in Hawaii. The mature Mourgona sp. #4 also had fewer black spots on the mid-line of the notum and few or no white/orange spots  on the foot. However, those differences might be due to individual variation. The other differences seem consistent with photos from elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific.
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