Nembrotha cf. livingstonei, Allan 1933
Well, it was truth or consequences time in the banca one lazy late morning dive during the May field trip to Batangas, Philippines, when everyone compared collected specimens to see who had the most outlandish branch. As is increasingly becoming the case, it was one of the dive guides, Perry Paleracio who came up with the winning specimen. We were bedazzled by the colors that emanated from the animal, certainly it had to be new!
However, in a moment of reflection later on that day we were able to find a picture of it in Atsushi Ono's Opisthobranchs of Kerama Islands . Following that lead up, additional pictures taken by Ono were found on Bill Rudman's SeaSlug forum . Certainly our animal is the same as the one Ono photographed. As Dr. Rudman noted in discussing Ono's animal, the similarities in the frontal features of Ono's animal, the Philippines specimen and that of the Australian Nembrotha livingstonei is in part compelling evidence for at least a Nembrotha cf. livingstonei designation (in my admittedly humble opinion).
Group photo courtesy of Alan Grant (aka the diving dentist)
Pictured at left is the intrepid group that participated in the May 2001 field trip in the Batangas region of the Philippines. Seen in the back row are the ladies from left to right are Sandra Millen and Melonie Baker. In the second row from left to right are Carl Morena, Ben Castillo, UNID Staff member, Bruce Baker, and Charlie Baker. And finally in the front row from left to right are Michael Miller, Jim Hargrove, Alan Grant, Jeff Holmes, Clay Carlson, Chet Tussey, Jerry Allen and Perry Paleracio.
The group was a mixture of still U/W photographers, video U/W photographers, and branch researchers. The contributions made by our guides Ben and Perry went a long ways in making the trip a huge success in terms of branch sightings. We are of course indebted to Jerry Allen for organizing the trip and handling the logistical details of travel and diving.
Jerry, Clay and myself flew on to Dos Palmas resort outside Puerto Princessa on Palawan which set the stage for a near encounter with terror and a story that is still unfolding as you read this!-Michael D. Miller, Webmaster, June 2001.