August 19, 2009
From: Linda Ianniello
Concerning message #22482:
Hi, Dr. Bill.
To add to the Caribbean Chromodoris story, here are two images. The single animal matches the C. neona in the Caribbean sea slugs book. However, it is quite different than the C. neona on the forum. The other image shows what I think is a C. binza and two C. neona, all feeding on the same dark purple sponge.
Locality: Lake Worth Lagoon, 15 feet, Florida, USA, Atlantic Ocean, 14 June 2009, Intracoastal, tidal. Length: .5 inch and 1 inch. Photographer: Linda Ianniello.
I don't know if this will help clarify anything, or add more confusion!
Ianniello, L.M., 2009 (Aug 19) Re: Feeding observations on Chromodoris neona?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22560
More observations are always valuable. It is true that when you only have a few observations it is quite easy to build up a simple story. While it can be momentarily disappointing when such stories fall apart, more information helps to build a richer more complex story, which in the end is much more satisfying.
The animal identified as C. neona in the Caribbean Sea Slugs book is not what Marcus described as C. neona. Marcus specifically described the gills and rhinophores as red-violet. From that I feel that Guido Villani's photo on the Fact Sheet fits Marcus's description almost perfectly. He would have described them as white with purple tips if it was the species in your photos and the Caribbean Sea Slugs book. The only tip Marcus mentions is the posterior tip of the foot which he describes as red violet - which again fits Guido Villani's photo. I guess this is an unnamed species as I can't find any described species with white gills and rhinophores with purple tips. I have posted a separate message with more on Marcus's description of C. neona [see message #22600]. I will call this species Chromodoris sp. 17 on the Forum.
Aside from the C. neona question, the more photos I see the more I am convinced that C. binza is just a colour form of C. clenchi.
I am sure the sponge is a species of Chelonaplysilla. It is interesting to see a group of similarly coloured Caribbean species all eating the same species of sponge. As I have suggested is the case with similarly coloured species in the Pacific eating the same sponge, this is almost certainly associated with the 'teaching' potential predators that certain colour patterns are distasteful.