August 20, 2008
From: Marli Wakeling
A puzzle from Bunaken Marine Park. It doesn't fit Phyllidia babai or P. willani, and the distinctive pattern is interesting. Any ideas?
Locality: Bunaken Marine Park, 40 feet, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Indo-Pacific, 22 July 2008, Wall. Length: 25mm. Photographer: Marli Wakeling.
email@example.comWakeling, M., 2008 (Aug 20) Phyllidia sp. from North Sulawesi. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/21800
As you know I have great reservations about P. willani, P. babai and P. exquisita and their relationship to the very variable P. ocellata, and Yasuhiro Shirai's photo of P. ocellata and 'P. babai' mating [message #5458] strongly support my doubts.
My feeling is that this will turn out to be P. ocellata, but discarding unnecessary species is unfortunately much more difficult than erecting new ones, so to preserve the status quo my feeling is that we should identify your animal as P. exquisita on the basis of the row of yellow tubercles in the dorsal midline and the arrangement of the black pattern. It doesn't have a broken yellow band at the mantle edge as is usual in P. exquisita, but P. babai sometimes has one and sometimes doesn't, so I think we can consider it to be a variable character. [see also message #21802 ].
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