Halgerda c.f. iota Yonow 1994
Wow - what a gorgeous creature. Nathalie Yonow has confirmed for Andrey that this is her Halgerda iota described in 1994. This species is known from only 2 specimens. I have listed it here as H. c.f. iota because the validity of the species has been questioned by a number of specialists, as possibly being a variation of the highly variable species Halgerda willeyi Eliot, 1904 (Courtesy of Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum). Currently it is not even listed in the World Registry of Marine Species (WoRMS). For this reason it was not included as a distinct species in Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification until further study is done on the many color variations of H. willeyi. Hopefully this will happen soon.
Externally this particularly flamboyant specimen matches the description of H. willeyi in every aspect - translucent white with several yellow ridges and a series of yellow and black lines between them. The fact that the lines are bolder than most H. willeyi specimens may or may not be important. I can find no description of the internal anatomy for comparative purposes.
I think what is important here is the lesson that we still have a great deal of work to do to state with certainty the identification of many of our highly variable species. Attempting identification from photographers alone leaves much to be desired.
In any event - what a beautiful animal!
Sammamish, WA 98074
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Andrey have been shooting underwater since 2002. Technical diver of all possible certifications from full cave to advanced trimix, he switched from deep caves and wrecks to macro 8-9 years ago. Dived Red Sea - Seychelles - Maldives - Thailand - Philippines - Indonesia - PNG.
Andrey considers himself still a beginner in a slug world, and likes to dive with people he can learn a lot from. That is why he dives at Club Ocellaris in Anilao. Andrey can't not wait for two back-to-back macro trips in PNG this November-December with Alicia Hermosillo (Andrey dove with her on a Komodo nudibranch trip in 2015), and is still in awe of her nudibranching skills and knowledge!
From time to time Andrey employs his deep diving skills to find new objects, as with H.iota
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Well, I'm not quite convinced of Andrey's amateur status in the slug world but am convinced Andre is keeping the right company and going to the right world wide locations to find and photograph sea slugs!
We can be assured of hearing more from Andrey, especially after back to back trips on the Chertan with Ali and Dave!