Hypselodoris apolegma feeding

April 10, 2006
From: Roberto Sozzani

Dear Bill,
I've found this couple of Hypselodoris apolegma feeding on... I don't know what, maybe a sponge covered by hydroids? I hope this can be interesting for the Forum.

Locality: Manado - North Sulawesi, 34 metres, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean, December 2003, Sandy slope with scattered coral heads. Length: 5-6 cm. Photographer: Roberto Sozzani.

Best wishes
Roberto Sozzani
www.robertosozzani.it

roberto.sozzani@fastwebnet.it

Sozzani, R., 2006 (Apr 10) Hypselodoris apolegma feeding. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16276

Dear Roberto,
Thanks for these photos. They have arrived at a good time, as they help illustrate the difficulties in making sponge identifications, which I have been discussing in Philippe and Guido Poppe's messages.

I think this sponge is growing up over a hydroid colony - perhaps using it as a 'backbone' or framework until it is thick enough to support itself. I would suspect the sponge is a species of Euryspongia like those eaten by H. bullocki, and illustrated in another message from the Poppes today [#16260], and also eaten by H. apolegma [see message #14140]. If you look carefully at the close-up of the sponge [middle right photo] you can see traces of the radiating pattern of fibres typical of this genus of sponges.

However I have reached that conclusion from working backwards from knowing what sponge this chromodorid probably eats. If we came at this with no knowledge of its food it would just be another tantalising example of a nudibranch clearly feeding but with no easy way of identifying the prey. To identify these non-spiculate fibrous sponges an expert needs to examine the structure of the colony and the arrangement of the fibrous skeleton - so even if a specimen of the sponge had been collected and preserved, it would be very difficult in this 'juvenile' sponge colony to examine the structure and arrangement of the fibres..

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Apr 10). Comment on Hypselodoris apolegma feeding by Roberto Sozzani. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16276

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