Dolabrifera dolabrifera (Rang, 1828) 37mm

Opisthobranch of the Week Data


Frequency on Okinawa:
Collection Data:
[brackets indicate range for all Okinawa-collected specimens of the species]

Species Account:

        Dolabrifera dolabrifera is considered to be common on Okinawa; nine individuals have been collected, but numerous others have been seen and are abundant throughout the year. My experience with D. dolabrifera on Okinawa is that the animals are very commonly found on the under-surface of strewn coral and rock rubble, along with their eggs which are found as transparent zigzag shaped ribbons. Frequently several animals are found together within intertidal regions of the reef flat and protected lagoons.

        Unlike most members of the family, D. dolabrifera is dorso-ventrally compressed and has a relatively unique way of moving across the substrate. Bill Rudman describes its locomotion as being "leech-like", by virtue of its habit of the following: head elevation, body extension, attachment of the anterior portion of the foot to the underlying stratum, and drawing the posterior portion of the body forward . . . very "leech-like" indeed. The color of these cryptic animals is quite variable and I've included two of the many color variants (variation 1 and variation 2) found here.

        Bertsch (1970) reports a single specimen being collected during the Summer of 1969 near La Paz, Baja California. This variable species is considered circumtropical and circumsubtropical in distribution and is a common component of the opisthobranch fauna in many area of the Indo-Pacific.


Copyright © 1999 Robert F. Bolland
Digitally manipulated photo