Verconia sp. #4
|Maximum size: 21 mm.
body that is typically pale peach
medially (more obviously so as the animal grows in size). An
opaque white stripe in the center of the notum is almost always
continuous and a magenta line
encircles the mantle inside the white mantle margin. The rhinophore
lamellae are orange, becoming red-orange near the tips, and the gills
translucent with orange on the outer edges. It can be distinguished
varians by its
unbroken white mid-dorsal stripe and its orange-tipped rhinophores and
Verconia sp. #4 is a
moderately rare species typically found on rocky bottoms, either in the
open or on shaded walls, at depths of 3-26 m
(10-85 ft). It occurs at moderately exposed to highly exposed sites
and feeds on a light gray to cream sponge that is often difficult to see
due to other invertebrate growth. (Note 1) On a few occasions, several animals
been observed on a host sponge for over two months, frequently huddled
next to each other. (see photo) The spiral egg mass is white and a 13 mm animal
laid a 6 mm diameter mass that hatched in about seven days in the
Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai and French Frigate Shoals.
gloriosa (Bergh, 1874) in Bertsch and Johnson, 1981 (top photo)
and was first recorded in Hawaii from Pupukea, Oahu by Scott Johnson on
March 22, 1978. It's listed in many sources as a Noumea sp.
Mike & Dan
Cesere: 17 mm; resting pair: Molokini Islet, Maui; July 24, 2008.
Observations and comments:
1: Available photos show the species
in association with cream and light gray sponges that are similar in
texture suggesting that they are color variants of the same species (or
closely related). The sponge that the young animal appears to be eating
in the first feeding photo is consistent with other sponges photographed in association with Verconia
sp. #4. That supports the conclusion that it is actually feeding on that
species even though other sponges are in close proximity on the rock.