Hypselodoris dollfusi (Pruvot-Fol, 1933)
With the 'New Millennium' has come a number of new and fascinating nudibranch finds. This week we feature one that comes from the unlikely locality of the waters near Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
A year or so ago I was contacted over the internet by a young lady in Dubai who was having trouble identifying some of the nudibranchs she was seeing. Terry Gosliner and I nearly had a heart attack as we looked over the first photos she sent us. Unbelievable. What were these things? After receiving specimens collected by partners, Carole Harris and Leon Betts, we set off to describe this wild critter as a new species, and naming it after Carole. It was not until the manuscript was out receiving peer review, did we learn from the referee, Dr. Bill Rudman at the Australian Museum in Sidney, that Carole and Leon's animal had all ready been described by Dr. Pruvot-Fol in a paper on the nudibranchs of the Gulf of Suez, Egypt, back in 1933. Disappointed that we couldn't name the species after Carole, this new information did offer us the opportunity to add significantly to Pruvot-Fol's description of the internal anatomy.
First, our hats are off to Bill Rudman who saw the similarity between Carole's photo above and the drawing to the left in Pruvot-Fol's paper. My first impression of this drawing was - nudibranch road kill, but the written text description confirms that this, in fact, was our animal.
Hypselodoris dollfusi is a typical Chromodoris shape, reaching 50 mm in length. The body is opaque white overall, with a bright yellow-orange marginal band. The notum has a series of deep pink-purple rings of varying diameters, which surround a circle of lavender. In some specimens the area within these rings have a bluish tinge. The rhinophores and gills are red.
Little is known about the ecology of this species, which thus far is known only from the Gulf of Suez and Khor Fakken, United Arab Emirates.
Just wait until you see what Carole and Leon have found next. Stay tuned.
Carole and Leon live in the United Arab Emirates and have been diving for over 13 years. One of Carole's favourite photography subject is nudibranchs, because as she says, she is almost guaranteed to get a fairly decent shot! Living in the UAE has proved to be a most diverse and unexpected smorgasboard of offerings from a wide range of unusual nudis to robust ghostpipefish, pipehorse, pygmy sea moths, hammerheads, and recently a pygmy sperm whale.
Carole is currently working on a UAE dive guide book which is expected to be published in December... Includes details of the most dived locations, colour photographs and dive-site maps.
She is also a very active member in the Emirates Environmental Group, promoting underwater awareness to its members and the public alike and has struck up a friendship with a reporter who shares the same environmental eagerness and helps to highlight these matters in the local newspapers.
Taxonomic information courtesy of Dave Behrens
David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Send Dave mail at email@example.com