young, 3 mm
Phyllodesmium sp. #2
|Maximum size: 15 mm.
species has a nearly transparent body decorated with opaque white
on the cerata tips, rhinophore tips, cephalic tentacles and notum. The
bases of the rhinophores are pale orange and the tips of the cerata may
have a faint peach tinge. The branches of the digestive gland in the
cerata are strait to weakly spiral without side branches and the tips
of the cerata and rhinophores may appear slightly wrinkled when
partially contracted. It may be distinguished from the similar
appearing Caloria sp. #2 by the more
sharply margined white patches on the notum and the white rhinophore
#2 is a moderately rare nocturnal species. Most Maui
animals were found in a moderately protected rocky habitat at a depth
of 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 ft). Two animals were found, respectively, in a Halimeda kanaloana bed at 8-20 m
(26-66 ft) and a more exposed rocky habitat at 8 m (26 ft). The rhinophores and cerata are contractile and the latter
are "flared" in response to disturbance. The lack of side branches on
the digestive gland suggests that the species doesn't store zooxanthellae. (Note 1)
Maui, Kauai and Niihau.
It was first
recorded in Hawaii from Hekili Point, Maui by CP on June 9, 1991.
10 mm: found by CP; Hekili Point, Maui; June 9, 1991.
Observations and comments:
1: Although it hasn't been
confirmed by observation, the habitat of this species suggests that it
may feed on the octocoral Sarcothelia