Original illustrations of some Hawaiian chromodorids

March 7, 2005
From: Bill Rudman

To accompany a discussion on Scott Johnson's recent messages [see message #13260] on Chromodoris albopustulosa and similar looking species, I have just posted the original illustrations and relevant parts of the descriptions of the following species. Most are white or yellow spotted species described from Hawaii by Pease. A few are from other Pacific Islands.  Many of the paintings are Andrew Garrett's, and some were subsequently published by Rudolph Bergh to illustrate species described unillustrated in Pease's publications.

Doris picta Pease 1860 
Doris albopustulosa Pease 1860 
Doris propinquata Pease 1860 
Goniobranchus albomaculatus Pease 1866
Chromodoris rufomaculata Pease 1871  
Doris prismatica var imperialis Pease 1860 
Doris vibrata Pease 1860 

Many early descriptions give brief features of the external shape and colour, and sometimes a coloured illustration (water colour) of varying quality. Sometimes the original specimens still exist in some museum, but they usually of little value at the species' level, and so we are left with trying to find little clues from the original descriptions.

For example Doris picta Pease, 1860, was identified as Hypselodoris peasei by Kay & Young (1969), but its shape and anatomy, as described by Kay & Young, suggest a species of Glossodoris, and its colour suggests it is Glossodoris rufomarginata. Some species are instantly identifiable from some special character, such as the vibrating gills of Chromodoris vibrata, but a very similarly coloured species with vibrating gills, Doris propinquata, has also been described from Hawaii. Kay & Young (1969) consider it to be a synonym of C. vibrata, but the very large exposed posterior foot suggests it may be Risbecia imperialis, a genus in which the gills often vibrate. One species, Goniobranchus albomaculatus Pease, 1866, has no obvious characters differentiating from many of the other species. Although some of the spots are coloured with purple in the published painting, the original description describes the tubercles as 'whitish'. There seems little point in trying to identify this species.

As I discuss separately [message #13260], although Doris albopustulosa and Chromodoris rufomaculata are identifiable from their original descriptions, it seems they may be colour forms of the same species.

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2005 (Mar 7) Original illustrations of some Hawaiian chromodorids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/13259

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