Plocamopherus cf. imperialis Angas, 1864
|Maximum size: about 35 mm.
is a mustard-yellow animal minutely flecked with brown. There are
clusters of white flecks on the papillae and gills. There are three
pairs of enlarged, pink-tipped
papillae on the sides of the notum with the posterior pair having
greatly inflated, hemispherical tips. There is a tall
dorsal crest on the anterior portion of the notum that is fringed with fine papillae.
Natural history: Plocamopherus cf. imperialis
is known from four or five animals found crawling on sand at night and in early morning at about 5-7 m (17-22 ft), two in a Halimeda kanaloana bed. The
hemispherical tips on the posterior lateral papillae are probably
bioluminescent and it can swim by lateral flexing if disturbed. (Note 1)
Distribution: Maui: Plocamopherus imperialis is known from New South Wales and New Zealand with related animals in Japan and elsewhere.
over-all form and color are similar to some photos of P. imperialis
elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific. But, there's enough uncertainty regarding
which animals are included in that species that we've opted to use
"cf." It was first recorded in Hawaii
from Maalaea Bay, Maui by Katherine Shepherd on Dec. 16, 2012.
Photo: Katherine Shepherd: about 35 mm:
Maalaea Bay, Maui; Dec. 16, 2012.
Observations and comments:
1: Katherine stated that she observed it attempting to swim in the field.