Phyllodesmium colemani

Phyllodesmium colemani Rudman, 1991

Phyllodesmium colemanii, like other members of its genus feeds on ocotocorals (soft corals and their relatives the sea fans). Most species are quite picky about their diet and P. colemani is no exception. It has been observed feeding only on the organpipe coral,Tubipora musica (one of the neater scientific names by the way). The specimens found by Mike Miller (Webmaster) in the Philippines represent only the second recorded occurrence of this species.

It was originally described by Bill Rudman in 1991, based on specimens that Neville Coleman found from Lord Howe Island off the coast of eastern Australia. The present specimens have more opaque white spots on the body and cerata than those found from Lord Howe Island, but there is little doubt that they are the same species.

Phyllodesmium colemani will undoubtedly be found in other localities in the future, but its cryptic color and specificity on its octocoral host make it particularly challengening to find this species.

Text courtesy of:

Dr. Terry Gosliner

California Academy of Sciences

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