Asteronotus cespitosus

Asteronotus cespitosus

Photo taken by Webmaster at Batangas, Philippines, April 1996

Asteronotus cespitosus (Hasselt, 1824)

This is an unusual and very large cryptobranch dorid, reaching as large as 220 mm in length. The body is very firm, yet gelatinous to the touch. The mantle bares a series of large pustules. The pustules in the center of the dorsum are largest and isolated from one another, while those nearer the edge of the mantle coalesce into irregular concentric rings. The edge of the mantle is highly undulated. Its color varies from dull yellow to muddy brown, and even green. The bases of the pustules are lighter in color.

In Julie Marshall and Richard Willan's new Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, it is reported as moderately common, throughout the year, from the low intertidal to 10 meters deep. They report the geographic range as tropical Indo-Pacific. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific reports its range to include: Tanzania; Madagascar; Seychelles and Mauritius to New Guinea to Hawaiian Islands.

The species is likely a sponge feeder and Marshall & Willan report the egg mass to be large (11 cm in diameter) and speckled pink in color.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Apr. 2000

Webmaster's Notes: Two (2) possible variations of this rather large nocturnal species have been seen on night dives in the Philippines. The first has been seen many times in the Cebu/Mindanao areas of the Philippines. The second was only seen once on a night dive in front of Club Ocellaris in Batangas, Philippines.

Taxonomic information courtesy of Dave Behrens

David W. Behrens

Author: Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Co-Author Coral Reef Animals of the Indo Pacific
Proprietor of Sea Challengers Natural History Books !

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