Phyllidia varicosa Lamarck, 1901
|The nature of the
on the head of this animal is somewhat uncertain (see the Sea
Slug Forum for another example). However, its form resembles that
of the oral glands that extend through the mouth to digest sponge
tissue when phylidiids feed. Since exposure of the existing glands due
to injury probably wouldn't result in such a high degree of symmetry,
perhaps the animal grew a second set around a dorsal opening due to a
"regeneration error" following injury (similar to the growth of an
extra rhinophore in some other nudibranchs)?
Photos: Marty Snyderman: Kona, Big Island; May, 2011.