Trapania sp.

Photo courtesy of Webmaster
Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Oct. 2001

Trapania sp.,(undescribed species)

Help me Rhonda - would you look at this psychedelic beast? Man-o-live just when you think you've seen it all another mind blower species is discovered. Although its internal anatomy hasn't been studied yet, I think I would place this beauty in the genus Trapania because of the typical Goniodorid non-retractile gills and the two pairs of lateral processes, one set in front of the rhinophores and the other set to side of the gills.

Twenty species of Trapania are shown on the Sea Slug Forum , five of which are currently undescribed. Mike's specimen doesn't come close to any of these. Of these twenty species from around the world, most (14) are white with some small marking or spots of white, yellow, orange or brown. Only 6 have any degree of dark body pigmentation seen in Mike's species, here.

Only about 10 mm in length, Mike found this specimen on a non-distinct red encrusting sponge . This is likely not its food however, as Goniodorids are usually found feeding on bryozoans or ascidians. Note that this species is black in body color with a red branching pattern, and white patches over its entire surface. There are smaller blue spots distributed within the black region. The lateral processes are white with a diffuse black area posterior-laterally.

A shallow water occurrence, Mike shot this Trapania in 25 feet of water, it is known only from this photo taken in Tulamben, near Bali, Indonesia.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Apr., 2002

Actually, I can't really take credit for finding this beast. The animal was pointed out to me by the resident expert Joseph while on an escorted dive. Unfortunately I was out of film but was able to return the next day to find it on the same red sponge! Joseph is a native Austrian who spends a good part of the year at Tulamben observing and photographing the underwater fauna of Tulamben. It is indeed a privilege to be invited to one of his patio slide shows to marvel over the beauty and varied underwater life he has recorded through the years. If you are reading this Joseph, please get in contact me regarding the Thecacera sighting on the day I was leaving last October.

Joseph and the Webmaster are pictured at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia last October.

Taxonomic information courtesy of:

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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