Hypselodoris picta azorica
Ortea, Valdés & García-Gómez, 1996
Known only from the Azores.
Faial island, Azores, Portugal. Depth: 8 m. 9 August 2005. Photographer: David Abecasis
The animal has a deep purple to black background colour with yellow or orange spots scattered over the mantle and the sides of the body. The density of spots variesfrom quite sparse to very crowded. There is also a yellow line bordering the mantle which differs in thickness in different specimens, and can be at times broken. There is a yellow border to the raised rhinophore pockets and a thin yellow line around the gill pocket and as series of yellow spots. The rhinopores are usualy translucent purple with a deeper blue tip, but in the animal illustrated here the whole of the rhinophore is blue. The gills are triangular in outline. They are translucent purple with a blue outer face edged with rows of yellow spots. The inner edge of each gill has a thin yellow line.
This subspecies is known only from the Azores.
Ortea, Valdes & Garcia-Gomez (1996) named this colour form Hypselodoris picta azorica subespecie nueva but they have not followed normal accepted nomenclatural practice so I doubt if the name is valid. To validly name a subspecies they should have followed the same rules as apply to naming a species, such as characters that differentiate the species from related species and allocating a type specimen. It is important to designate type specimens so that if later there are problems in identifying the species (or subspecies) there is a reference specimen we can go back to. This is specially important in groups, like the chromodorids, where we have so many problems in separating similarly coloured species - like the blue ones in the Mediterranean. This subspecies appears to lack yellow lines, but so do some 'typical' H. picta picta.
Ortea, J., Valdés, A. & and García-Gómez, J.C. (1996) Revisión de las especies atlánticas de la familia Chromodorididae (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) de grupo cromático azul. [Review of the Atlantic species of the family Chromodorididae (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) of the blue chromatic group.] Avicennia, 1996, Suppl. 1: 1-165.
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (September 13) Hypselodoris picta azorica Ortea, Valdés & García-Gómez, 1996. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/hypsazor