Opisthobranch of the Week Data
Doto pita is at the current time unknown from the waters of Okinawa's main island. The above featured animal was photographed, but not collected, from Agonoura Bay, Zamami Island, in the Kerama Islands, one of a series of islands in the Kerama Islands Group, which are located 30 ~ 40 kilometers west of the Okinawa Capitol, Naha. This featured animal was found and photographed on the rope of a buoy by Atsushi Ono during February of 1999 in 20m of water. Atsushi's photograph is used here with his kind permission. It should be noted that Atsushi considers the species to be very rare in the Kerama Islands as he has seen only two individuals (pers. comm.). With Atsushi's permission, I've included a second page with a photo of the second animal he's photographed from the Keramas.
Doto pita was first described from Brazil (Marcus, 1955) and has since been recorded in the tropical west Atlantic from the Caribbean and as far north as Florida. Baba (1971) described Doto pita as being found in a series of locations from Japan, but no detailed comparison of their anatomy has been undertaken. Bill Rudman (2002) in the Sea Slug Forum is currently carrying the species as Doto cf. pita and he feels that if in fact Baba's identification is correct for the Japanese material then the occurrence of a species in both the West Atlantic and NW Pacific is almost certainly a result of human disturbance (shipping, etc.).
Baba's (1971) description of the Japanese material, based primarily on live-collected specimens from March, 1960 and 1962 from the vicinity of Mukaishima Marine Biological Station, is as follows:
External Body Form: The body is small, being up to 4 mm long. The dorso-lateral papillae are usually in 5 pairs. As stated previously by Marcus (1955) on his type specimens of the species, each papilla is scattered irregularly with bluntly pointed tubercles that never form circlets. No gill is found on any of [the] papillae. The rest of the body surface is smooth.