Doridomorpha gardineri Eliot, 1906
Well here is a pleasant surprise. Until its inclusion in Atsushi Ono’s new book Opisthobranchs of Ryukyu Islands , page 233 (bottom), this cryptic little arminid nudibranch has not been reported in the popular literature or on any web site until now. One can certainly understand why. This tiny Arminina, only 9mm in length, is almost invisible on the blue coenothecalian coral, Heliopora coerulae.
This species has dorid-like rhinophores, set back on the notum, like Corambe , but unlike members of its sister genera, Armina and Dermatobranchus ,but the gill is typically arminacean, found under the mantle. It is the dorid shape and placement of the rhinophores that Eliot created this genus, the name (Doridomorpha) meaning - "morphologically (shaped) like a dorid."
The white patches on the mantle resemble pores on the corals surface. Documented sightings are few for this species, but include Fiji, Australia and Japan.
Thanks Atsushi for bringing this rare critter to the public eye.
I feel so strongly about the Ono-san's dedication to the study of Opisthobranchs that he is going to receive my unqualified recommendation for anyone planning a branching trip to Okinawa. His operation is first class and can be totally focused on branching if you bring enough people.
David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Send Dave mail at email@example.com