Cyerce sp. 3 from Hawaii

April 4, 2002
From: Cory Pittman

Dear Bill,
I thought you might like a photo to extend the range of Cyerce sp. 3 to Hawaii. However, Pauline Fiene-Severns found the first specimens during our current project and Scott Johnson found it several years before she did. So, I can't claim a new record. The animal in the photo was taken in an algae wash at Hekili Point, Maui on September 20, 1998. It was found in a semi-protected, back-reef habitat at a depth of less than 1 m (although most of our specimens are from somewhat more exposed sites and at depths of up to 9 m). It was 6mm in length.

Of interest, perhaps, is that it has a swimming escape behavior. When disturbed, it arches its body ventrally until the head and the tip of the foot nearly touch. In that posture, the cerata are "splayed out" into a circular position and partially contracted at their bases. Then, it swims up into the water column by rhythmically sweeping the cerata up and down creating a pulsing effect reminiscent of a medusa (without, otherwise, moving its body). If I recall correctly, I've observed them swimming continuously for up to 20 or 30 seconds in dishes. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to photograph one "in action".

Best wishes,

Pittman, C., 2002 (Apr 4) Cyerce sp. 3 from Hawaii. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Cory,
It certainly has that 'slight difference' many Hawaiian species seem to have, but the yellow spots around the ceratal edge, though smaller, suggest it is the same.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Apr 4). Comment on Cyerce sp. 3 from Hawaii by Cory Pittman. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Cyerce sp. 3

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