Polycera abei

Photo taken at Gulf Of Oman, United Arab emirates
Photo courtesy of Carole and Leon Harris

Polycera abei (Baba, 1960)

This somewhat rare species, known primarily from Japanese and Australian waters, Ono, page 99 , Nikano, page 98 and Umiushi , has shown up in Khor Fakkan situated in the Gulf Of Oman, United Arab Emirates. Thatís quite a distance apart. This kind of distribution is not uncommon among polyceridís. Polycera hedgepthi is found throughout the North Pacific Ocean, as well as, South Africa, West Africa, northern New Zealand, and in Australia from Mallacoota, (northern Victoria), Sydney (New South Wales) and one report from Albany (Western Australia), as well as from the Mediterranean. Now thatís some distribution.

Originally Baba placed the species in the genus Ė Greilada. Some authors treat Greilada as a subgenus of Polycera. Most use Polycera , however. The species name is to recognize the accomplishements of one of Dr. Babaís students, Takeo Abe.

This species grows to about 15mm. Body smooth above and there is no pallial ridge on each side, like in some other Polyceraís. It has six velar papillae, that are long and digitiform. General body colour translucent yellowish white, with black spots interspersed among the orange ones. Rhinophores and velar papillae are black, and the gill is yellowish white with black tips.

What is extremely interesting to note is that when Carole and Leon found these specimens they were among a large gourp of Thecacera picta, which they closely resemble. This is likely a situation of Mullerian Mimicry, where both species benefit by their similar appearance, advertizing their caustic taste if bitten. Examples of this include Bill Rudmanís red-spotted chromodorids, and the Limacia cockerelli, Crimora conejo , Triopha catalinae complex.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Feb. 2005

Carole and Leon Harris live in the United Arab Emirates and have been diving for almost 20 years. One of Carole's favourite photography subject is nudibranchs, because as she says, she is almost guaranteed to get a fairly decent shot since they can't run away.

Living in the UAE has proved to be a most diverse and unexpected smorgasboard of offerings from a wide range of unusual nudis to pipehorses, pygmy sea moths, robust ghostpipefish, hammerheads and whalesharks.

Carole is co-author of a UAE dive guide book which details the top 58 top most dived locations, colour photographs and dive-site maps.

She is also a very active member in the Emirates Environmental Group, promoting underwater awareness to its members and the public and has persuaded some restaurants to refrain from serving shark fin soup.

Send Carole and Leon email at carole_underwater@yahoo.com.au

Taxonomic information courtesy of:

David W. Behrens

Author: Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Co-Author Coral Reef Animals of the Indo Pacific
Proprietor of Sea Challengers Natural History Books

Send Dave mail at dave@seachallengers.com

© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 2005. All Rights Reserved.