Thecacera vittata from the Maldives

December 6, 2001
From: Erwin Koehler


Dear Bill,
Attached are 2 shots from the Maldives, South Male Atoll, Vagali Island, divesite "Vagali Caves", length 24 mm, depth 16 m, 22 Sept. 2000.
I thought this one to be Thecacera picta, but today I read the description of Thecacera vittata by Nathalie Yonow, 1994 (Revue fr. Aquariol., 20, (1993): 4, 25 juillet 1994) and I think this is what she described. Is this species valid or is it just a variant of T. picta?
Erwin

Erwin@medslugs.de

Koehler, E., 2001 (Dec 6) Thecacera vittata from the Maldives. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5771

Dear Erwin,
I sometimes wish the urge to describe new species wasn't quite as strong. Considering how little we knew about the colour variation of Thecacera picta, I would have thought that it was not a good idea for Nathalie Yonow to describe a new species on 2 colour slides. The main differences she notes between her species and T. picta were that T. picta had brown bands and not spots, and T. vittata had white markings and T. picta did not. Even from the photos we now have on the Forum you can see that both these characters are extremely variable. I am sure T. vittata is a synonym of T. picta.

I guess from the proximity of the bryozoan colonies, we can be reasonably confident that that is what it feeds on.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Dec 6). Comment on Thecacera vittata from the Maldives by Erwin Koehler. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5771

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