December 17, 2005
From: Binyamin Koretz
Shulamit found two of these little guys together, but they quickly scattered under her light. We think that they are Phanerophthalmus smaragdinus.
You mentioned on the factsheet that Phanerophthalmus are anatomically more closely related to the haminoeids, despite their external similarity to the aglajids -- and I would add that their speed is also more aglajid-like.
Locality: Eilat, Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Israel, Red Sea (Gulf of Eilat).
Depth: 16 m. Length: ca 1 cm. 10 December 2005 (night). coral reef. Photographer: Shulamit Koretz
On a somewhat related note, while looking into the family on the internet I came across your factsheets for Smaragdinella which are not linked to the main species list on the Forum.
Koretz, B., 2005 (Dec 17) Rediscovery of Phanerophthalmus albocollaris. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/15489
This is a nice find. It fits Heller & Thompson's description (1983) of Phanerophthalmus albocollaris, a species named from one 3 mm long specimen found on the Sudanese coast of the Red Sea. I had assumed it was probably a juvenile of P. smaragdinus, but the distinguishing feature they mention is a W-shape white mark on the posterior edge of the head shield, which is clearly visible in Shulamit's photos. They describe the general colour as "yellowish brown, the central area being blackish. The posterior flaps of the headshield are coloured in a very conspicuous white, which forms the shape of a W.'
Unfortunately, the only anatomy they mention is the radular morphology, and in an animal so small it is not possible to make a valid comparison with P. smaragdinus, so I guess until we have evidence to the contrary we should consider Phanerophthalmus albocollaris to be a good species. I think this is the first record since the original description from the Sudan, 20 years ago.
Thanks also for alerting me to the 'lost' Smaragdinella Fact Sheet. The Forum Search facility will find these lost souls, but obviously it is better if I don't leave them off the Species List.