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marginal line

(?) sp. #4

Ardeadoris(?) sp. #4
Maximum size:  about 20 mm.

Identification:  This soft-bodied species has a wide, slightly undulating margin and low, but distinct, rounded pustules about 0.5 mm in diameter covering its notum. Body color is translucent gray with opaque white covering the visceral area. The white pustules are more concentrated mid-dorsally giving the animal an overall white appearance. There is a wide, white submarginal band and (in some animals) a narrow, light yelow marginal line. The foot is gray with a yellow margin and white submarginal band. The rhinophores are pointed, tapering, and transparent-white to yellowish-tan with about 15 slightly darker lamellae. The gills are comprised of 7-8 transparent stalks with minute reddish flecks. (summarized from notes that Scott Johnson took upon examination of the living nudibranchs).

Natural history:  Ardeadoris(?) sp. #4 is a rare species known from only a few animals. It's nocturnally active and has been found under ledges and in small caves in moderately exposed to highly exposed habitats from 6-15 m (19-49 ft). It lays a white egg mass attached on its thin edge and there is no extra-capsular yolk.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui and Oahu.

Taxonomic notes:  There is some question whether this species is an Ardeadoris or Goniobranchus. However, it's similar to species with irregular white pustules that were moved to Ardeadoris in Johnson & Gosliner, 2012 (and, is most similar to Ardeodoris undaurum as illustrated in Gosliner, et. al., 2018). It was first recorded in Hawaii from Puako, Big Island by Scott Johnson on April 27, 1981.

Photo:  Sara Thiebaud: Haleiwa, Oahu; May 9, 2022.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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