Fahrner & Schrodl's Phyllidia schupporum

July 4, 2002
From: Bernard Picton

Dear Bill,
Following my earlier comments on Fahrner & Schrodl's paper redescribing Phyllidiopsis sinaiensis I would like to make some comments on their Phyllidia schupporum. It is clearly the same as Yonow's P. multifaria which Brunckhorst synonymised with P. elegans. I've attached some scans of Red Sea P. multifaria and Malaysian/Indonesian P. elegans. I think Brunckhorst was wrong to synonymise these species and Fahrner and Schrodl have now confused the situation further by redescribing P. multifaria as P. schupporum.

Consistent differences between P. multifaria and P. elegans seem to include much taller, compound mid-dorsal tubercles in P. elegans; the smaller tubercles in P. elegans are bright white - contrasting with ground colour of mantle, whilst in P. multifaria they are coloured almost the same as the mantle.

UPPER RIGHT: - 12 Dec 1992 - Sharm el Sheik, Egypt
LOWER LEFT: - 13 Dec 1992 - Jackfish Alley, Sharm el Sheik, Egypt
LOWER RIGHT: - Jan 1980 - Whale Bay, Gulf of Aquaba - (illustrated in Yonow, 1988 as P. multifaria)

• Fahrner, A. & Schrödl, M. (2000) Description of Phyllidia schupporum, a new nudibranch species from the northern Red Sea (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia, Phyllidiidae). Spixiana, 23(1): 55-60.



Picton, B., 2002 (Jul 4) Fahrner & Schrodl's Phyllidia schupporum. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/6452

Thanks Bernard,
Yonow's P. multifaria certainly looks like Fahrner & Schrödl's Phyllidia schupporum. One thing I notice in Fahrner & Schrödl's description is that they specifically state that there are no characteristic markings on the sole of the foot. Yonow describes a median black line on the sole of P. multifaria and this character also appears in P. elegans. P. schupporum was described from a single preserved animal, the colour information apparently based on photographs. It is possible therefore that if there was a black median line on the foot, it could have dissolved in the preservative. Describing new species, especially in such a problematic group as the phyllidiids, from a single specimen, is not a good idea.

I guess the big problem is still to decide whether Brunckhorst was right in considering P. multifaria to be a synonym of P. elegans.

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 4). Comment on Fahrner & Schrodl's Phyllidia schupporum by Bernard Picton . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/6452

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