Opisthobranch of the Week Data
Aplysia oculifera is considered to be very rare on Okinawa as I have seen and collected a total of three individuals over a period of many years of diving here. The species name means "eye-bearing", which has reference to the small black eye-like rings, frequently having white centers.
There has been considerable confusion concerning A. oculifera and A. dactylomela, a similar appearing aplysiid, but with large black rings present on its mantle. Gosliner (1987) points out that in the South African literature, A. oculifera was originally united with A. dactylomela as a single species. A. oculifera is clearly distinguishable by having smaller black rings on the body and a far more graceful appearance. I've included a second individual of A. oculifera, which shows quite a bit of color variation from the above featured animal.
A. oculifera is widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific and ranges as far east as the Hawaiian Islands.