Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sunday's Nudibranch: Phyllidia babai

white Phyllidia babai with black and yellow spots
Phyllidia babai, Credit: Nhobgood Nick Hobgood
Credit: Steve Childs

This is Phyllidia babai,a dorid nudibranch in the family Phyllidiidae. The species is named after Japanese malacologist Kikutaro Baba (1905-2001).

The species has been recorded in North Sulawesi, Lembeh Strait, southern Queensland, Australia, South Korea and Okinawa.

It has a cream to light yellow colored dorsum with white tubercles in the center of black rings and the mantle finely edged in yellow. The clavus of each rhinophore has 21 to 24 lamellae, and the rhinophoral pocket is trimmed in white. Its white-colored, pointed, oral tentacles have lateral grooves, and they also are trimmed in yellow. The ventral surface is a pale cream color.

Most sighted specimens are 3-4 cm long.

Like many nudibranchs, P. babai feeds on sponges specifically the yellow sponge, Acanthella stipata.

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