Brandon & Cutress, 1985
Specimen on the tentacles of the jellyfish Cassiopeia in a shallow, very warm water, mangrove area on Lark Caye, Belize, Central America. March 1992. Size range: 16 - 35 mm. PHOTO: Jeff Hamann.
This interesting species of Dondice was discovered about 10 years ago in Puerto Rico and apparently lives exclusively on the jellyfish Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is the jellyfish which is often found in sheltered shallow waters. It lives upside down so that the sunlight can get to its tentacles which are full of symbiotic algae. There is no indication that the aeolid retains algal cells alive in its tissues, like some other nudibranchs do, but it would be worth an investigation.
• Brandon, M., & Cutress, C.E. (1985) A new Dondice (Opisthobranchia: Favorinidae), predator of Cassiopea in southwest Puerto Rico. Bulletin of Marine Science,(1): 139-144.
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (November 9) Dondice parguerensis Brandon & Cutress, 1985. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/dondparg
November 10, 1999
From: Dave Behrens
Wow, the Forum has been busy lately. That's terrific. Here are the photos I promised of Dondice parguerensis Brandon and Cutress, 1985. The photos, by Jeff Hamann, of El Cajon, California were taken during our March 1992 Belize collecting trip. Several specimens were collected from the tentacles of Cassiopeia in a shallow, very warm water, mangrove area on Lark Caye, Belize,
Central America. The specimens varied from 16 to 35 mm in length and were found on jellies with bell diameters of about 20-25 cm. Long stringy egg masses of Dondice were also observed.
firstname.lastname@example.orgBehrens, D., 1999 (Nov 10) Dondice parguerensis from Belize. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/1510
Thanks again to you and Jeff for these photos.
I was working on aeolids with symbiotic algae when I first heard of this interesting animal and wrote to Dr Brandon, who kindly sent me a couple of specimens. Unfortunately their state of preservation was not good enough for a histological examination, so I don't know if they have symbiotic algae or not. Considering that they are feeding on a jellyfish which lives upside down to give its symbiotic algae enough light for photosynthesis, there is a chance that they also utilise the algae. [Though after looking closly at Jeff's photos, there don't seem to be any obvious signs of zooxanthellae].
At last I get a chance to see a colour photo of these animals. I have looked at many Cassiopeia in the Pacific, but have found nothing yet.