Cyerce kikutarobabai is a species that really gets my "Branching" juices going. First because its is gorgeous and second because of its namesake. Cyerce kikutarobabai was named to honor Dr. Kikutaro Baba of Japan. Dr. Baba was a mentor in my early college years and assisted me, as he has done for so many others, with my first publications on nudibranchs. His many and detailed scientific descriptions of the opisthobranchs from Japanese waters has set a standard for others to follow.
Looking at the striking colors and body lines of Cyerce kikutarobabai reminds me of a story. Years ago while attending a malacozoological society meeting a Stanford University, the "Branchers" had gathered (as they do every year) for a slide show to share their latest finds. Someone had put a shot of one of Baba's new species up on the screen, and the room filled with OH's and awe's. At that time, Dr. Baba was publishing new species by the dozens. His papers were always full of line drawings suggesting that the species he was describing were designed by some way out abstract artist - the color and lines being unbelievably "non-animal" and unlike anything we had seen in California. I remember one of my colleagues saying - "wow, look at that. Maybe Baba's drawing are not as off as we had thought." No his drawing were not, and as seen here in Mike's photo, this species originally from Japan is almost psychedelic in appearance.
Mike's photo here adds to the range of the species noted on Bill Rudman's Forum until now the species was known only from Japan , Northern Marianas, and New Caledonia. The species is small, reaching only about 15 mm in length. It has flattened cerata, adorned with purple which fads at the base, and characteristic white spots. Note also the distinctive purple head and black eye spots. Like other sacoglossids the rhinophores are rolled.
Recently, this species is found in Coleman's 1001 Nudibranchs ,
Ono's Opisthobranchs of kerama Islands and in Okutani's Marine
Mollusks of Japan
Hamatani, I. 1976. Cyerce kikutarobabai New-Species From Yoron Island Opisthobranchia Sacoglossa. Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab. 23 (3-5). 1976 283-288.
David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs