Variation of Thecacera picta from Maldives

November 25, 2008
From: Marcel Tanke

Concerning message #22026:

Hi Bill,

Here are two more Thecacera picta. I think they have again another colour pattern variation. We found them in a rather strong current. They were holding on to and maybe eating from, a small hydroid. It seems like the top one has white gills with a couple of relatively large black dots. The lower one has small red dotted gills, which you can see just in the middle between them.

15 m, Maldives, 26 December 2007, Sandy bottom. Length: 1 cm. Photographer: Marcel Tanke.

Best regards,
Marcel

Marceltanke@cs.com

Tanke, M.A., 2008 (Nov 25) Variation of Thecacera picta from Maldives. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22049

Dear Marcel,

Thanks for the interesting photo. The dotted 'gills' in the lower animal are in fact a branched bryozoan colony that this species eats [see messages #5771, #20058, #21602]. This colony seems to have quite a long stalk which the upper animal has crawled up and consequently bent over.

It interesting how many photos there are of tropical species of Thecacera crawling over what seems to be a wasteland of sand, apparently lacking any food. Photos like yours show that food, such as bryozoan colonies can be found wherever there is a small rock, or large shell fragment, for them to attach to.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2008 (Nov 25). Comment on Variation of Thecacera picta from Maldives by Marcel Tanke. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22049

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