Order : NUDIBRANCHIA
Suborder : DEXIARCHIA
Infraorder : CLADOBRANCHIA
Parvorder : AEOLIDIDA
Superfamily : AEOLIDIOIDEA
Family : Facelinidae
Known from tropical eastern Australia, but possibly more widely spread in the western Pacific.
As its name suggests, Phyllodesmium crypticum is a very cryptic species, well-camouflaged amongst the colonies of the soft-coral Xenia in which it lives and on which it feeds. This is another of the many species of aeolid which store zooxanthellae from their food, presumably obtaining nourishment when they photosynthesise. The large sacs of zooxanthellae found in the tentacles of Xenia are clearly the source of Phyllodesmium’s zooxanthellae.
This species is very similar in appearance to Phyllodesmium hyalinum, another species found in association with the soft coral Xenia. See Phyllodesmium hyalinum, for distinguishing features of the two species.