Conualevia alba

Conualevia alba Collier and Farmer, 1964

There are two valid species of Conualevia: Conualevia marcusi Collier & Farmer, 1964 (the type of the genus), and Conualevia alba (its synonym is Conualevia mizuna Marcus & Marcus 1967). Collier and Farmer named this genus to honor a single feature--smooth rhinophores. Given today's understanding of evolutionary relationships and cladistic study methods, it probably needs to be put into another family, and not in the mono-generic name bearer in which it currently resides. Some of my friends are working on these quirky problems.

In the meantime, as part of a major biodiversity study on the Pacific coast in the central Baja California peninsula, this animal was photographed at Bahía Tortugas, Baja California Sur, several months ago. Over 30 years ago, James Lance reported specimens from this region. The smooth rhinophores, white body color, and the crusty white glandular dots along the dorsal margin are clearly visible. This animal was 18 mm long, found intertidally "under a rock."

This species has been reported from Carmel, California, USA, to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.

Research at Bahía Tortugas is funded by a grant from the Mexican federal government agency, CONABIO; participating investigators include Carlos Sanchez, José Luis Arreola, and Orso Angulo of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, La Paz, and myself.

Photo and text by Hans Bertsch

Dr. Hans Bertsch

Assoc. Prof.
Dept. of Math and Natural Sciences
National University
192 Imperial Beach Blvd. #A
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
FAX (619) 423-9118
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