Opisthobranch of the Week Data
Phyllodesmium longicirrum is considered to be very rare on Okinawa. I've never had the good fortune to have seen one of these beautiful animals, but fortunately Giancarlo Perez*, who photographed the featured animal, was kind enough to make a color print available for scan and display. Giancarlo reports that this animal was the only one he has seen here; it was found crawling in the open on a sandy bottom during a daytime dive, approximately 100m offshore.
I've added an additional page with a second Okinawa animal, photographed by Shawn Miller and his are used there with his kind permission. Shawn photographed this attractive facelinid from Riffle Beach (between Torii Station and Zampa Point, Okinawa).
Although it's difficult to pick a solitary genus of aeolid nudibranch which is the most attractive, certainly Phyllodesmium species rank quite high as being some of the most beautiful nudibranchs known. The featured Phyllodesmium longicirrum is one of twelve described species of Phyllodesmium currently found on Okinawa. The twelve species identified to date are:
Many of the soft-coral feeding aeolid nudibranchs have modified their bodies in order to utilize symbiotic algae located within their bodies. Bill Rudman, of the Australian Museum, has on the Slug Forum a close-up photo of one of the digestive track extensions into a ceras (the singular form of cerata which are the apparent large dorsal and lateral extensions on the featured animal above) of Phyllodesmium longicirrum, showing concentrations of the brown patches of algae being cultivated by this remarkably attractive aeolid.
*Giancarlo Perez and his wife Jackie, are avid divers and have been diving in Okinawan waters since May of 1996.
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