Risbecia pulchella Ruppell & Leuchart, 1828
One of several very similar species of the genus, Risbecia, R. pulchella, is a long slender species, measuring to 11 cm. The genus can be recognized by the high body profile with a mantle edge that is well extended from the sides of the body. Usually found in pairs often with one animal following closely behind the other, members of this genus rhythmically raise and lower the head as they crawl. They also vibrate their gills.
The body coloration is white to tan with varying number of yellow spots. The rhinophores are dark red to purple and a line of similar color extends up each gill and around the edge of the mantle.
Because this species is one of several from a complex begging for considerable taxonomic revision, it is difficult to identify with any certainty its distribution, but species resembling the photo above are known from South Africa and Red Sea to the Arabian and Andaman Seas.
The photo above is part of his most recent publication, Indo-Pacific Field Guide of Nudibranchs and Sea Snails, containing over 1000 photographs of marine snails taken in their natural habitat . The book excels in rarely seen behavioral aspects of marine sea slugs.
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David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
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