OKINAWAN
OPISTHOBRANCH OF THE WEEK

Philinopsis speciosa Pease, 1860 34mm

Opisthobranch of the Week Data

Taxonomy:

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


Species Account:

        Philinopsis speciosa was originally posted on these pages as P. cyanea, however, because P. speciosa is an older name, as well as the type of the genus, I've elected to replace the more commonly used P. cyanea with that of P. speciosa.

        Philinopsis speciosa is considered to be uncommon in the waters of Okinawa's main island. I've collected a total of ten individuals over many years of diving here and the ten animals were collected during four separate excursions. The above featured animal was one of four individuals (11mm, 27mm, 34mm, and 43mm) collected at the same time and in near proximity to each other, from a large patch of open silty-sand while snorkeling.

        The species is an opisthobranch predator and is probably more active at night, preferring to burrow into the sand during the day. This attractive cephalaspid is highly variable in color; the collected Okinawan specimens ranged from light brown to black. The only other cephalaspid found here which resembles P. speciosa is P. gardineri, although the more square body of P. speciosa serves to distinguish it from the more round-headed P. gardineri.

        There are to date (mid-September, 2011) five species of Philinopsis reported from Okinawan waters. The five are:

  • Philinopsis falciphallus
  • P. gardineri
  • P. pilsbryi
  • P. reticulata
  • P. speciosa The above featured animal

  • Page Date: 15 Dec '97
    Page Modification Date: 12 Sep '11
    Digitally manipulated photo
    Copyright © 2011 Robert F. Bolland