Chromodoris quadricolor Ruppell & Leuchart, 1828
Chromodoris quadricolor forms the center point of a color complex of chromodorid nudibranchs having longitudinal black lines. This complex (referred to as the quadricolor complex) is carefully described in Bill Rudman's 1977 and 1982 papers dealing with different color groups of the genus Chromodoris. Included in this group are: C. africana, C. magnifica, C. elizabethina, C. kuiteri, C. boucheti, C. lochi, C. willani, C. annae, C. strigata, C. westralensis, C. colemani, C. hamiltoni, and three new species, currently in press by Gosliner & Behrens.
Chromodoris quadricolor, which is known from the Red Sea is most similar to C. africana and C. magnifica having three blue-black stripes, separated by white, and a wide orange marginal band. The rhinophores and gills are orange-red. Debelius (1996, page 201), Nudibranchs and Sea Snails, Indo-Pacific Field Guide, depicts the species feeding on the tall arborescent sponge, Latrunculia magnifica, in the Gulf of Aquba, Red Sea.
The bright color of this species is another example of aposomatic coloration, warning predators that it secretes noxious chemicals when disturbed. These secretions come from a series of glands located marginally around the edge of the mantle just below the surface of the skin. In the C. quadricolor complex, these mantle glands are relatively large and highly digitate. The glands differ from species to species, in their size, branching and whether the glands form a continuous series or are separated in groups along the margin.
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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