Juvenile Hexabranchus from Pearl Harbour

July 28, 2001
From: Anuschka

Dear Bill
Here is a nudibranch I couldn't identify. I think it is a Chromodoris, but I am not sure. We found it (14mm long) on a sponge at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaiian Ids, at 1m depth on the 23 July 2001.

Could you identify this animal?


Anuschka, 2001 (Jul 28) Juvenile Hexabranchus from Pearl Harbour. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4949

Dear Anuschka,
This certainly looks like a chromodorid but although I have not seen this colour form before I am pretty sure it is a juvenile Hexabranchus sanguineus - the Spanish Dancer. In adults one character of Hexabranchus is that each gill is separately inserted into the skin of the body wall. This is not so easy to see in live juveniles, although it is usually clear when they are dead and preserved. One clear external difference from most chromodorids is that the gills are branched, which you can see in your photo.

If you look through other messages on this page you will see the red patches on the back are quite consistent in many colour forms. However the yellow border in your animal is an unusual variation. One other feature found only in Hexabranchus is the shape of the oral tentacles on either side of the mouth. Instead of being a single tentacle or flap of tissue, each 'tentacle' is a handlike flap with a series of fingers. I will try and find a photo and post it on the Forum. Unfortunately it is not a feature you can see in photographs of the dorsal surface.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Jul 28). Comment on Juvenile Hexabranchus from Pearl Harbour by Anuschka. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4949

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