Thordisa sp. (undescribed)
Johanna Gawron sent this image in some time ago only to end up in the file with the label "That sure is neat but what the heck is it?" In fact, one has to look close to realize that we are in fact dealing with a branch! I mean after all it was photographed in the Lembeh Straits where you just have to let your imagination run wild with what might be found! The star shaped dorsal papillae certainly set this guy apart from what we are accustomed to seeing in Dorids.
Well, the story might have ended there had we not found a second specimen on our recent trip to the Batangas region of the Philippines, an area which some are now calling the Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity in the Indo Pacific. The thought crossed my mind at the time that I had seen it before and it didn't take long after getting back to put Johanna's image together with what we found in the PI! Isn't mother nature amazing!
Someday, our unknown will have a name after the taxonomy is done! Until then, keep on slugging!
Enjoy also a short video taken by the Webmaster of this amazing branch . You will need a flash file player to see it. Also a frontal image was taken with my Sony HC3 HD Camcorder that you may want to look it. No strobe, just two light cannons!
WEBMASTER'S NOTES: Dave and I got our wires crossed as to who was going to do this BOW, so Dave's contribution is being presented below! Very Interesting commentary indeed!
Thordisa sp. (undescribed)
This undescribed Thordisa reminds of a Knight in armor covered with dozens of ball maces . Itís mace like dorsal tubercles are compoundedly branched into multiple points. Not only is the appearance quite defensive looking but it makes the animal very cryptic, giving the appearance of the very dangerous and toxic night anemone Phyllodiscus semoni (seen at left). The rhinophores of this critter are lamellate, black and covered with white specks. They are barely discernable at the bottom of the above photo. The branchial plume is completely incongruous to me. It stands out like a sore thumb, creamy white in color with various white specks, quite unlike the external morphology of the rest of the animal. To date it is known only from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan.
Johanna with Rahmat Alfian, Dive Guide with Graham Abbott's Diving 4 Images .
Johanna was born and raised in Bavaria close to Munich. She has been diving since 1992, having taken her basic course in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Didn't dive for quite a while and fell in love with critter diving in 2003. Since then I try not to miss Graham Abbott's special critter cruises. My favourite area is Indonesia, I love the country, its people and for sure the diving.
WEBMASTER'S NOTES: Our daughter was also certified at Tulamben a few years back! What a wonderfull location to be introduced to the sea! I agree with all of the above, including using Graham Abbott's guide services!