January 28, 2004
From: Linda Ianniello
attached is a shot of another mystery from the east coast of Florida. I'm sorry the picture is not very good, but hopefully it is good enough to identify, since it appears to be something that is not already on the forum. It was found in Lake Worth Lagoon on a night dive, at a depth of about 15 feet, in January 2004. It was very small, about 3/8 inch. My friend Judy Townsend took this shot, since she had the better set-up to make an attempt.
The best I can do is possibly an Okenia zoobotryon? Looking at a photo I have from Kerry Clark's web pages it appears to be similar.
As usual, thanks for the help, and for maintaining such a great Forum.
firstname.lastname@example.orgIanniello, L., 2004 (Jan 28) Okenia evelinae f rom Florida. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/11929
Thanks for another interesting find. Your animal does look quite like Okenia zoobotryon, and is definitely of the same genus, but I suspect it is a species described from Brazil, Okenia evelinae Marcus, 1957, and probably not reported since. Kerry Clark (1984) and Valdes & Ortea (1995) consider O. evelinae to be a synonym of O. zoobotryon but as I discuss in a separate message I suspect this is a separate species.
Your animal fits Marcus's description of the living animal very well. He described it as being all white with 'refractive granules' on the back, and with violet rhinophores. He also describes, and illustrates a pattern of violet on the body in some animals which matches the brown pattern in Judy Townsend's photo in your message. A streak behind each rhinophore, a band on each side of the gills and a band down each side of the 'tail'.
Both Marcus's animal and yours have abnormally large rhinophores and tapering, almost triangular papillae along the mantle edge.
Even without looking at the anatomy, it is clearly different from Okenia zoobotryon which has been described in some detail by a number of authors. It is indeed an intersting find.