Okenia stellata Rudman, 2004|
I have always loved Okenia's but have never understood the aeolid-wanna-be body morphology. Do the club shaped lateral processes increase the respiratory surface area of the body, thereby acting like secondary gills? I really don't know.
Bill Rudman named Okenia stellata for the star-like arrangement of the lateral papillae. This species has similarities to Okenia nakamotoensis (Hamatani, 2001), which also has 5 pairs of lateral papillae, but they are shorter and the tips are swollen with a rounded point.
The body is white to pink, with red tips on the lateral processes and rhinophores. There is a pattern of thin red lines on the dorsum, including a ring around the body just below the papillae, which is usually partly hidden from above by the lateral papillae. There are also two lines on the dorsum which run from the behind each rhinophore back.
The shape of the radular teeth is very unusual for the Goniodorididae. We will not be describing it here, but suggest you go to this link - Sea Slug Forum on Okenia stellata for an SEM of the radula.
This species is found on its food source, a branching, erect, calcareous bryozoan, Pleurotoichus clathratus.
Ali Hermosillo on location in the Philippines
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