Aegires sp. 5 (undescribed)
The Webmaster kindly joined me and two of my fellow Sunshine Coast Nudibranch Team members (Terry Farr & Julie Schubert) for 8 intensive days of muck diving in the Tawali region of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Our efforts were richly rewarded especially in the sea slug department with many undescribed finds recorded and the overall count for the trip approaching 200 different species.
Among those undescribed species is this small (10 mm) Aegires sp.
Typically of the Aegires it has a firm and stiff body that is relatively high in profile and lacks a distinct notal mantle margin however a telltale row of linked low, rounded tubercles would seem to indicate a remnant position and this continues anteriorly around the edge of the oral veil. The body is brown and covered with a cream reticulum of raised lines (almost ridges) that bear low white-tipped cream tubercles at some of the junctions. Spots of a darker brown are randomly distributed over the notum. Posterior to the gills the reticulated pattern seems to gradually break down into a denser collection of tubercles.
Aegires sp. 5 has the typically smooth retractable Aegiridae rhinophores that arise from elevated sheaths ornamented with tubercles on the rims the lateral-most being larger than the rest. These mostly cream-coloured rhinophores are notable for their extraordinary length, fine tapering and possession of a dark brown line traversing both the anterior and posterior faces. The gills are situated mid-dorsally and are protected by three large multi-branched tuberculate lobes.
This species is most similar to the Aegires sp. 5 in the new Nudibranchs and Sea Slug Identification - Indo-Pacific book by Gosliner, Valdes & Behrens except that species apart from being of a different colour lacks the reticulations on the notum and the rhinophores are shorter and rather more conical in shape.
Fahey, S. J. & Gosliner, T. M. (2004) A Phylogenetic Analysis of the Aegiridae Fischer, 1883 (Mollusca, Nudibranchia, Phanerobranchia) with Descriptions of Eight New Species and a Reassessment of Phanerobranch Relationships. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 55, (34): 613-689, December 2004.
Dave Mullins on location
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