February 15, 2002
From: Terry Gosliner
I was looking at the photo that Valda sent that you said looks very much like C. kitae and noted your comment that you thought C. kitae fell within the variation of C. tumulifera. You did not mention one of the key differences we found consistently in C. kitae, from Madagascar. The rhinophores and gill of C. kitae always have a series of opaque white spots on the rhinophores that seem to be absent in all the illustrated specimens of C. tumulifera or C. bimaensis from the western Pacific. Unfortunately the photo that Valda sent is a bit dark and I can't make out enough detail on the gills and rhinophores. My sense is that C. kitae represents a distinct species. I am sending you two scans of specimens of C. kitae fom Madagascar.
tgosline@CalAcademy.orgGosliner, T. , 2002 (Feb 15) Chromodoris kitae from Madagascar. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/6243
Thanks for the photos and for drawing my attention to the white spots. The presence or absence of white spots will certainly be something for people to keep an eye out for. I am sending as separate messages photos of an animal from New Caledonia which has a broken yellow border like typical C. kitae but doesn't have white spots on the gills and rhinophores, and a photo of an animal from Fiji that I initially identified as Chromodoris bimaensis in which some of the purple spots have become rings. With your photos, I think the Forum now has photos of all the various colour variations of this C. tumulifera - bimaensis - kitae group.
I realise Valda's photo is a bit underexposed, but it seems to have a continuous, rather than broken orange band, and seems to lack the white spots on the gills and rhinophores. It will certainly be interesting to see what colour variation can be found in the Indian Ocean.