Notodoris gardineri Eliot, 1906
Described two years after its close sister species Notodoris minor (featured as Branch of the Week #83), N. gardineri is a similar large yellow firm bodied sponge eating phanerobranch dorid. It has variable black mottling rather than black lines and spots. The body has slightly larger tubercles than N. minor and the extra branchial appendages are more finely branched.
Like N. minor is reaches more than 100 mm in length. Its large egg mass is also yellow in color. It is also found on reef crests and slopes to 20 m deep, where it feeds on the yellow calcareous sponge, Leucetta chagosensis Dendy, 1913 (see Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, page 16, sp. # 3).
Not as widely distributed as N. minor, it has been observed from Maldives; Australia; New Guinea; Indonesia and Okinawa.
The picture at left of Mary was taken with a 44 cm long Spanish Dancer at Beqa Lagoon, Vitu Levu, Fiji. This nudibranch, accompanied by a slighly smaller one, were regulary seen grazing between two particular bommies.
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David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
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