Phyllidiella pustulosa (Cuvier, 1804)
The black body of this slug is studded with pinkish nodules, which may appear green underwater. The second most common phyllidiid in Hawai`i, it sometimes occurs in areas of heavy coral growth and can usually be found along the coral-encrusted sides of the hot water outlet at Kahe Point, O`ahu. Typical of its family, it feeds on poisonous sponges, concentrating the toxin in its tissues as a defense against predation. The bright colors are believed to serve as a warning; as evidence of this, a dorid nudibranch and a flatworm that mimic this nudibranch occur in other parts of its range. The mimics, however, have not yet been found in Hawaii. To about 2 in. Indo-Pacific.
Photo: Kahe Point, O`ahu. 20 ft.
Hawaii's Fishes, a Guide for Snorkelers, Divers and Aquarists Mutual Publishing, 1993
Hawaii's Underwater Paradise, Mutual Publishing, 1997
Hawaii's Sea Creatures, a guide to Hawaii's Marine Invertebrates. Mutual Publishing, 1999.
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