OKINAWAN
OPISTHOBRANCH OF THE WEEK

Bursatella leachii Blainville, 1817 (6mm)

Opisthobranch of the Week Data

Taxonomy:

Frequency on Okinawa:
Collection / Photo Data:
[brackets indicate range for all Okinawa-collected specimens of the species]


Species Account:

        Bursatella leachii is considered to be very rare on Okinawa as I have collected only the above featured juvenile; perhaps unusual due to the depth at which it was found (61m). In many worldwide localities the animal is reported as being common*; there is certainly a possibility that in some Okinawan environments these animals may be commonly found as well. The animal was found in a sorting pan following a dive, as a result of taking a "grunge sample" of miscellaneous material from an area primarily composed of mixed sand and strewn coral rubble.

        Bursatella leachii is found in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters throughout the world, and more than a half-dozen subspecies are recognized by some opisthobranch workers, e.g., in the Gulf of Florida the subspecies is called B. leachii plei, in South African waters both B. leachii afficana and B. leachii leachii are reported (Gosliner, 1987). The subspecies B. leachii leachii is wide spread within the Indo-Pacific.


*John Paige (1988) records examples in the West Indies where local populations can reach enormous numbers, and densities of 660 individuals per square meter have been observed!

Literature Cited:


Copyright © 1999 Robert F. Bolland
Digitally manipulated photo