A new Dondice (Opisthobranchia: Favorinidae), predator of Cassiopea in southwest Puerto Rico
Abstract:A new species of eolid nudibranch, Dondice parguerensis, is described from La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Major diagnostic features of the species include nine groups of cerata on either side; genital pores between the first and second groups of cerata; rhinophores with up to 11 annulations; masticatory process with about 54 denticles and about 20 radular teeth, with 7 denticles per side.
This is the first report of the predatory association between the new species and the scyphozoan Cassiopea. The principal host is C. xamachana, although C. frondosa can also be its host. The nudibranch feeds on the finer parts of the medusa's oral arms, on which it also lays its eggs. Like all other cnidarian-feeding eolids, Dondice parguerensis stores the nematocysts of its host, and the larger euryteles are selected in a ratio of 5 to 1.
At peak abundance during the months of November to February the eolid can be found on up to 80% (average 45%) of C. xamachana. and the average rate of infection is 2.3 nudibranchs per medusa. The nudibranch exhibits an aggregated distribution on the jellyfish.
D. parguerensis has a life span of approximately 9 weeks. Newly laid eggs hatch in 2 to 6 days, and development is planktotrophic. Veligers apparently settle upon the scyphozoan, and rapid growth takes place after metamorphosis. Nudibranchs and their egg masses can be found year-round on Cassiopea.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1985
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