Ceratosoma tenue mating

May 31, 2006
From: Bruce Wilkie

Hi Bill,
I am not certain if these animals are Ceratosoma tenue or Ceratosoma trilobatum, (I am leaning towards C. tenue) but which ever they are they are certainly mating.

Locality: Flat Rock North Stradbroke Island, 16 metres, Queensland Australia, Pacific ocean, 21 May 2006, rocky reef with sponges, hard & soft corals . Length: 60 mm. Photographer: Bruce Wilkie.

Many Thanks,
Bruce Wilkie.

brucedwilkie@yahoo.com.au

Wilkie,B, 2006 (May 31) Ceratosoma tenue mating. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16684

Dear Bruce,
These are definitely C. tenue. The three mantle lobes down each side of the body are characteristic of this species. In C. trilobatum there is only the 'head' lobe and the large one on each side of the gills. The name trilobatum [= three lobes] refers to the two large lobes, one on either side of the gills, and the recurved dorsal horn, just behind the gills.

When I was revising the chromodorids the species of Ceratosoma were quiye a challenge because at least three species, C. trilobatum, C. tenue, and C. gracillimum showed a great deal of colour variation, but the three species had the same, or very similar colour patterns. There were also other names referring to colour variants of one or other of the species. This group only began to make sense when I ignored the colour and used the shape of the mantle. Ignoring the colour was a very difficult thing to do, because in every other chromodorid genus, the colour is vital. This is the first time I have seen this species mating, so I am very pleased to see that both partners have the three lobes of 'typical' C. tenue. It would definitely been back to the drawing board if one partner was like this, and the other had the lobes of C. trilobatum or C. gracillimum.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (May 31). Comment on Ceratosoma tenue mating by Bruce Wilkie. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/16684

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