Phyllodesmium sp.

Phyllodesmium sp.

This gorgeous photo was provided to us by Scott and Janine Michael. It is an undescribed species of Phyllodesmium that we were first made aware of by Bob Bolland from Okinawa.

Scott and Janine's photograph was taken at Kungkungan Bay Resort on the Lembeh Straits of Indonesia. Although somewhat similar to Phyllodesmium poindimiei (Risbec, 1928) on Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum, this new species differs from all other Phyllodesmium by it's radically twisted salmon colored liver diverticula, within the ceratal cores. The foot corners and rhinophores are very long and tapering to a point. Both are banded having yellow, then white, then purple, then clear, then white, bands. I'm out of breath. Many species of Phyllodesmium closely resemble their soft coral habitat (see Phyllodesmium longicirra & Phyllodesmium sp. and P. briareus on the Sea Slug Forum). This species however, sticks out like a sore thumb, its aposomatic coloration warning predators of the nematocysts it carries at the tip of each ceras.

Like all Phyllodesmium this species appears to feed on soft corals, in this case possibly a Semperina or Acalycigorgia. The specimen collected by Bob Bolland in Okinawa, was 46 mm in length. This specimen too seems fairly large. What a great photo opportunity.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Feb. 2001

Scott W. Michael and Janine Cairns-Michael

Scott was born and raised in Nebraska. Although he grew up far from the ocean, Scott developed a keen interest in sharks, rays and reef fishes as a young boy. Scott is now an internationally recognized writer, underwater photographer, and marine biology researcher specializing in elasmobranchs and reef fishes. He is a regular contributor to several magazines and is the author of Reef Sharks and Rays of the World (Sea Challengers), Reef Fishes, Volume 1 (Microcosm), A Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Fishes (Microcosm) and Aquarium Sharks and Rays (Microcosm).

Scott is also a partner in a massive web-site project,Coral Realm, providing much of the written and photographic content. (Coral Realm is a web-site for those that love sharks and rays, reef fishes, and invertebrates.) Scott has been a scientific consultant for a National Geographic Explorer special on shark behavior, and a participant in a Discovery Channel program on shark diving. He also conducted ground breaking research on the mating behavior of the round stingray (Urobatis halleri).

Scott has been diving since 1976. His research and photographic endeavors have led him from Cocos Island in the Eastern Pacific to numerous locations in the Indo-Pacific, including the Maldives, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, much of Australia's coastal waters, French Polynesia, as well as the Red Sea and many reefs in the Caribbean. He also conducts seminars on fish identification and biology at Kunkungan Bay Resort for one month every year.

Janine was born and raised in Invercargill, New Zealand. She moved to the United States in 1981 and has lived in Nebraska ever since. Janine is a metal smith, and has worked for a nationally renowned jeweler for the past eight years. She also makes and sells her own jewelry in art galleries in New Zealand.

Janine has been scuba diving for the past 11 years and a serious underwater photographer for the past four. Her photos have appeared in numerous books and several different magazines. Janine is a partner in She is responsible for some of the photographic content and her artistic talent is utilized in the development of the site.

Janine has spent numerous hours exploring the underwater world. She has spent time on reefs in the Maldives, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, French Polynesia, the Red Sea and the Caribbean.

Taxonomic information courtesy of Dave Behrens

David W. Behrens

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

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