Marionia hawaiiensis

November 29, 2002
From: Scott Johnson

Hi Bill,
Attached are scans of a tritoniid from Hawaii. This has previously been reported as Tritonia hawaiiensis in most publications, including my own (Bertsch & Johnson, 1981). A more recent list of Hawaiian opisthobranchs put together by Cory Pittman and Pauline Fiene-Severns lists it as Marionia hawaiiensis, and I agree that it looks a lot more like a Marionia species I have found in the Marshalls as well as photos of Marionia species on the forum. Around the Hawaiian island of Oahu, I used to find these animals mostly in shallow water (3 meters or less) under boulders along the island's north and northwest coasts. These are the shorelines that get huge surf in the winter -- waves up to 15 meters and more tall -- and is the site of famous Hawaiian surfing beaches such as Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay. A site a few hundred meters west of Waimea Bay had a nice population of M. hawaiiensis in the late 1970s. It is amazing they could survive the winter surf. In a second message there is a photo which shows an individual on its food source, the Hawaii endemic soft coral Anthelia edmondsoni. The animals in these photos range up to approx 50mm in length.

Johnson, S., 2002 (Nov 29) Marionia hawaiiensis. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Scott,
Bill Rudman

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