Chelidonura pallida Risbec, 1951
One of the more handsome species of Chelidonura, this species is similar in coloration to Chelidonura electra , but with black markings on the body. Some authors have referred to members of this genus as the swallowtail head shield slugs. This somewhat cumbersome common name does draw attention however, to typical head shield which all cephalaspids have and the genus' characteristic long split in the tail, the left branch of which is always longer than the right branch.
Like other Chelidonura, C. pallida feed on tiny acoel flatworms, which live on almost every coral reef substrate. Chelidonura "smell" or sense their flatworm prey with a pair of round, bristle covered lobes on either side of the head. These sensory lobes are used also to find potential mates and when tailing other individuals, a common behavior for members of this genus.
This species reaches about 50 mm in length and has been documented from Malaysia, western Australia, Fiji, New Guinea, Indonesia and New Caledonia and the Kerama Islands of Japan.
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David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
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