OKINAWAN
OPISTHOBRANCH OF THE WEEK

Scyllaea fulva Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 20mm
Photo by Atsushi Ono

Opisthobranch of the Week Data

Taxonomy:

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


Species Account:

        Scyllaea fulva was previously featured on these pages as S. pelagica but current molecular analysis of the group (Pola, et al, 2012) find that the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific species are distinct and the authors have resurrected Scyllaea fulva Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 for the Indo-Pacific species.

        I've not personally seen S. fulva in the waters of Okinawa's main island, however Atsushi Ono mentions seeing an excess of twenty animals at the time the above photo was taken off Zamami Island in the Keramas * and also that he has seen many individuals in the Keramas and considers the species to be common there (pers. comm.). Atsushi reports finding the above featured animal at the surface on floating algae (a frond of Sargassum species as shown in the above photograph). Atsushi's photograph is used here with his kind permission.

        Scyllaea fulva has a broad Indo-Pacific distribution, living a pelagic existence attached to pieces of floating kelp (commonly on Sargassum species), where it feeds on attached hydroids. This attractive scyllaeid is quite variable in color and Bill Rudman has numerous images posted on the Sea Slug Forum illustrating some of this color variation. Additionally, Mike Miller has a beautiful green animal featured on his page as well. As of the current date (early October, 2014) both of the above links have S. fulva listed as S. pelagica.

        In addition, I've previously featured two similar appearing members of the family on these pages, Crosslandia viridis and Notobryon wardi.

Etymology:

Literature Cited:


        * Keramas = the Kerama Islands Group, located 30 ~ 40 kilometers west of the Okinawa capitol, Naha.


Page Date: 01 Oct '14
Page Modification Date: 01 Oct '14
Digitally manipulated photo (image has been horizontally flipped)
Copyright © 2014 Robert F. Bolland