OKINAWAN
OPISTHOBRANCH OF THE WEEK

Phyllidia elegans Bergh, 1869 (51mm)

Opisthobranch of the Week Data

Taxonomy:

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


Species Account:

        Phyllidia elegans is considered to be uncommon on Okinawa; I've collected a total of eight individuals since the first one was collected during July of 1987, but certainly others have been seen but neither photographed nor collected. P. elegans is one of sixteen known species of phyllidiids identified from Okinawa as of this date (20 July, '98). If the animal is removed from the water and smelled, a relatively pungent odor is normally detected; Brunckhorst (1993) points out that all members of the family have a characteristic odor. This odor is doubtless the result of toxic chemical secretions used as a defense mechanism against potential predators. Quite remarkably, some species are apparently capable of killing both fishes and crustaceans under aquarium conditions.

        Phyllidia elegans is readily distinguished from other Phyllidia species by the presence of light pink dorsal tubercles frequently tipped in yellow, a pale-colored foot having a median longitudinal black line on the sole, and the lateral margins of the sole exhibit black lines.

Literature Cited:


Page Date: 20 Jul '98
Page Modification Date: 20 Jul '98
Digitally manipulated photo
Copyright © 1998 Robert F. Bolland