Phyllodesmium lembehense
February 19, 2017
Phyllodesmium briareum
February 19, 2017

Picture : Danny Van Belle – Location : Lembeh Strait – 14/08/2007

Phyllodesmium crypticum

Order : NUDIBRANCHIA
Suborder : DEXIARCHIA
Infraorder : CLADOBRANCHIA
Parvorder : AEOLIDIDA
Superfamily : AEOLIDIOIDEA
Family : Facelinidae

Picture : Danny Van Belle – Location : Lembeh Strait – 14/08/2007

DISTRIBUTION
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.

Picture : Danny Van Belle – Location : Lembeh Strait – 07/03/2007