moloch, Rudman, 1988
Komodo Park in Indonesia encompasses a group of small islands located between the larger Sumbawa and Flores. The most notorious physiographic characteristic of the area is the striking contrast of blue clear warm waters of the north and the murky green cool waters in the south. These green waters are home to an outstanding diversity and richness of life, with species of invertebrates that can be found only there, particularly in the south bay of the island of Rinca.
So, Mike and I were on our 3rd day diving this area when we saw this beauty. On what I think was one of the best dives ever, we had already photographed Ceratosoma magnificum , Ceratosoma sinuatum and several Ceratosoma gracillimum when the guide called us over to see something "very good"... oh yeah! very good indeed. Not only was this Ceratosoma moloch laying eggs, but another one was close by .
This rarely found species was described by our dear friend Bill Rudman in 1988. It was named after the Thorny Devil lizard Moloch horridus found in the Australian desert. The genus Ceratosoma is characterized by a reduced mantle skirt that forms pronounced lobes on the sides of the body, a horn like protuberance mid body posterior to the gill and a rather large body size. Feeds on sponges like other members of the Chromodorididae.
Rudman, W.B. (1988) The Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) of the Indo-West Pacific: the genus Ceratosoma J.E. Gray. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 93(2): 133-185.
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