This week's "Branch of the Week" is simply one of the most striking species of dorid nudibranch. Although Durvilledoris lemniscata is a very small species, reaching only about 15mm in length, it makes up for it size with its striking coloration. I think Mary Jane's photo shows you everything you need to see to identify this species. No need to repeat the color pattern here.
The Australian Museum Sea Slug Forum has a page showing a number of species all of whom share similar color patterns. A comparative page referred to as the Noumea purpurea Colour Group includes the following species: Durvilledoris pusilla, Noumea varians, Noumea varians, Noumea norba, Pectenodoris trilineata, Durvilledoris similaris, Hypselodoris maculosa, Noumea alboannulata, and Noumea purpurea.
Bill Rudman mentions on the Forum that the genus name was based upon Dumont d'Urville who was the commander of the French research vessel, The Astrolabe, during its voyage of scientific discovery in the early 19th century. The authors, Messer/s Quoy and Gaimard were the on board naturalists for the voyage during which the species was discovered in French Polynesia. This same trip led to the discovery and description of other species such as Chromodoris reticulata and Dendrodoris tuberculosa .
One of the interesting things about this species is its very wide geographic distribution. Specimens have been documented from throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, including tropical Australia, French Polynesia, Thailand, Sudan, Saudi Arabia to name a few.
Image of Mary Jane taken during Phoenix Islands
trip. Picture courtesy of Cat Holloway
"Mary Jane retired from 33 years of practicing anesthesiology in 1999 and is now a voluntary Research Associate of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in the Department of Malacology.
Islands Expedition of 2002 was her 88th dive trip."
Mary Jane can be contacted at email@example.com
David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Send Dave mail at firstname.lastname@example.org