June 28, 2003
From: Marina Poddubetskaia
Concerning your comments on Chromodoris luteorosea. Luckily I also have photos of Chromodoris luteopunctata from Dakar. This species is quite common there and this ID was confirmed by Lucas Cervera. I hope these photos will help you to sort out the identification of previous animal.
Location: Dakar, Senegal, Eastern Atlantic
Site : Tacoma Wreck, Depth: 11m, Size: 25-30mm, May 26, 2003.
Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia - Nembro website
Thanks for these interesting photos. I think this is the first record of C. luteopunctata from the West African mainland. It certainly looks different from your earlier animal which I tentatively identified as Chromodoris luteorosea. My doubts were based on the opinions of local experts on the fauna who have written that the presence of white spots on the gills and rhinophores of C. luteopunctata, and their absence in C. luteorosea, are a good way to separate the two species. And yet your animals of both 'species' from Senegal all have white spots on the gills and rhinophores. The only consistent difference seems to be that in C. luteorosea large spots have a smooth round edge while in C. luteopunctata the edge of larger spots is very irregular [See Alma Sanchez's message].
Looking at published anatomical studies I can't see any major anatomical differences between the two species which could easily resolve the matter so I suspect we will need to learn something about their biology before we can be sure. Perhaps their egg masses, or development type is different or perhaps they feed on different sponges?
Chromodorids are great mimics of each other so we can't rule out that these are two species mimicking each other. However we need to find some way of ruling out that they are not just one variable species.