Well, here we go again, another undescribed Goniobranchus! Or is it??. In researching the identity of this curious slug I came across an image on Nudipixel taken by Ken Tucker back in 2010 in the Anilao area that is almost certainly the same guy I found. A similar image also posted on Nudipixel by Dave Peltier from Taiwan bears striking resemblence to the same slug. Both postings to me suggested perhaps a separate and distinct species from Goniobranchus lekker based on consistent mantle fringe coloration differences. The suggestion then was that it could be G. lekker but as Lawrence Neal noted, this ID puts it "..very far from the supposed range of G. lekker of the Western Indian Ocean..."
As luck would have it I ran into Dr. Terry Gosliner (the original describer of G. lekker ) in Mexico City this past month. Terry was of the opinion that the Anilao specimen was yet another an undescribed species. The response was pretty quick so I imagine that it has been collected and when time permits will be subjected to Phylogenetic typing (DNA). Terry's opinion runs along the following lines:
"...Goniobranchus lekker differs from the present species in several important aspects of color. G. lekker has an outer band of orange and an inner bluish band, while this is reversed in G. sp. Also, G. lekker has more sparse white spots on the back and has white rather than orange rhinophores..."
The discovery of new species in the Anilao area seems never ending since I first started diving the area back in the early '80's!
The species count from this area since Terry's study began back in 1992 has surpassed 900, 52% of which are undescribed!
Hummm, sounds like a good reason as any to go back and continue the hunt!