young, 3 mm
Baeolidia moebii Bergh, 1888
|Maximum size: 100 mm (Kay,
This species has densely papillate rhinophores and extensive
ramifications of the digestive gland in its notum, foot, rhinophores
and cephalic tentacles. The cerata are moderately to greatly inflated
(particularly in young animals) and they usually have iridescent-blue
subapical bands. Rarely, the cerata may have an orange sheen. The body and cerata are splotched with white. The
ramifications of the digestive gland distinguish it from Baeolidia
Baeolidia moebii is
a moderately common species that appears to be largely restricted
to Halimeda kanaloana beds at
depths of 8-30 m (26-100 ft) (although it's been recorded from
the low intertidal and shallow rocky habitats on Oahu by Scott Johnson and from 3 m (10 ft) in a Big Island marina by Paul Okumura).
It is probably primarily diurnal and the extensive
ramifications of its digestive gland suggest that it obtains
significant nutrition from retained zooxanthellae. Gosliner (1973)
reports it feeding on the sea anemones Boloceroides and Aiptasia while Rebecca Bicker and Jenna Szerlag photographed them feeding on a Stichodactyla sp. (Note 1)
It lays a cream egg
mass composed of a "slinky-like" ribbon. The eggs appear to hatch in
about two days in the laboratory.
Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.
Some sites list this species as Spurilla
major. It's listed as Berghia major in Kay, 1979, Gosliner, 1980, Bertsch & Johnson, 1981, Hoover, 1998 and Hoover, 2006. It's referred to as the
"anemone-eating nudibranch" in Hoover, 1998 & 2006 although the
photo is of Baeolidia salaamica
(deleted in 5th printing).
The photo of B. major in
Bertsch and Johnson, 1981 is also of B.
salaamica. It was first reported from Hawaii in Gosliner, 1980. The "orange variant" is a close match for the photo of this species in Gosliner, et. al. 2018.
Photo: Paul Okumura: about 25 mm; Honokohau Marina, Kona, Big island; May 19, 2013.
Observations and comments:
1: In Oct., 2010 a 9 mm animal was
repeatedly offered juvenile and mature Bunodeopsis
medusoides but showed no interest in that species (unlike Baeolidia scottjohnsoni).