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young, 2 mm

fully extended


egg mass


perpallidus Risbec, 1928
Phanerophthalmus perpallidus
Maximum size:  19 mm.

Identification:  This species has a translucent shell with a greatly expanded aperture and low spire. Although the shell is external, it's only about one fourth the length of the body and is partially covered by the parapodia. The animal is translucent cream. When young, it has scattered brown spots on the body with orange spots showing through the shell. When mature, it becomes densely blotched with brown to olive-green and the spots showing through the shell fade to light brown. It may be distinguished from the other members of the genus by its relatively large shell.

Natural history:  Phanerophthalmus perpallidus is a common nocturnal species found in protected to highly exposed rocky and back-reef habitats at depths of < 1 to 3 m (< 3 to 10 ft). Rarely, it can be found in Halimeda kanaloana beds at depths of 9 m (30 ft) or more. According to Kay (1979), it rests by day among the holdfasts of Vallonia. It lays a lozenge-shaped, white egg mass with densely packed eggs. The mass is attached by an adhesive surface and hatches in three to four days in the laboratory.

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

Taxonomic notes:  This species is listed in Kay, 1979 as Phanerophthalmus cylindricus (Pease, 1861). However, the drawing of it in Kay, 1979 is mislabeled as Phanerophthalmus smaragdinus. Although it appears to be the species listed as P. cylindricus in Kay, it doesn't appear to match the original description of that species from Tahiti. It's also probably listed as both Phanerophthalmus cf. cylindricus and Phanerophthalmus cf. smaragdinus in Severns, 2011 (it's likely that both illustrated shells fall within the range of variation for this species). In addition, the live photo of Haminoea cymbalum on page 418 is mislabeled as Phanerophthalmus cf. cylindricus.

Photo:  CP: green; 12 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Nov. 30, 2004.

Observations and comments:

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