Plocamopherus maderae

Plocamopherus maderae (Lowe, 1842)

Plocamopherus maderae @ Gran Canaria by Aketza Herrero

Taxonomy
 

Superdomain

Biota  

 

Kingdom

Animalia  

 

Phylum

Mollusca  

 

Class

Gastropoda  

 

Subclass

Heterobranchia  

 

Infraclass

Euthyneura  

 

Subterclass

Ringipleura  

 

Superorder

Nudipleura  

 

Order

Nudibranchia  

 

Suborder

Doridina  

 

Infraorder

Doridoidei  

 

Superfamily

Polyceroidea  

 

Family

Polyceridae  

 

Subfamily

Triophinae  

 

Genus

Plocamopherus  

 

Species

Plocamopherus maderae  (R. T. Lowe, 1842)

 
 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 141711).
Synonyms

  • Peplidia maderae Lowe, 1842

Description
This is a spectacular nudibranch as it can reach more than 50 mm in length. The initial morphological description of the species described it as an orange or yellowish-orange nudibranch, with numerous small dark brown spots throughout the body and, in a less defined way, patched orange spots. In young specimens, the body color is translucent yellow to reddish-brown, similar to the color pattern of Thecacera pennigera (Ortea et al., 1996). The cephalic veil has 6-8 short, branched digitations. The rhinophores are coloured similar to the body, have lamellae in the upper half and a tapered basal stem. The edge of the mantle has three pairs of branched papillae, two pairs located in front of the gill and the third pair located just behind the gill; these papillae have a white or slightly pink pigment that may also appear on the sides of the body and tail. The tail is robust, long and flat, and has a dorsal keel that the animal can use for swimming. The gills are large, of the same color of the body, they are slightly branched and erect.

Biology
This species is capable of swimming by using its tail and also by flexing the body laterally (Newcomb et al, 2012). This nudibranch is typically nocturnal, hiding under rocks in shallow water during the day (Lowe, 1842; Eliot, 1906; Ortea et al, 1992;. Palomar et al, 2014). The most important feature of this species is its bioluminescence. Throughout the posterior midline, from the back edge of the notum to the tip of the tail, it has a line that emits phosphorescent light flashes when the individual is disturbed or swims away. The edges of the gills have the same effect as do the lateral papillae, emitting powerful luminescence flashes when the individual is disturbed. This bioluminescence is intrinsic, which means that the light output depends on the animal’s own biochemical processes without symbiotic association with bacteria. Another bioluminiscent species is Kaloplocamus ramosus, whose chemical bioluminescence reaction takes place within the luminescent cells or photophores (intracellular luminescence), while in the species Plocamopherus maderae, chemical luminescent chemical reaction occurs outside the cells (extracellular luminescence) (Valles et al., 2006). The most consistent explanation for this bioluminescence occurring only when the animal is disturbed is, according to Wilbur and Yonge (1966), to temporarily distract potential predators. However, based on personal observations, bioluminescence is often seen during night dives in individuals that were not being disturbed, so it could be a communication system between individuals of the same species for breeding purposes. The spawn is a ribbon wound up in a spiral with 5 turns and orange eggs (Medslugs).

Etymology

  • Plocamopherus. From Greek “plokamos”, hair tress + “-pherus”, from Latin “fero”, a combining form meaning “bearing”, “producing”, “yielding”, “containing”, “conveying” used in the formation of compound words.
  • Maderae, from Madeira.

Distribution
This species was first described in Madeira, and then only registered in the Canary Islands (Cervera et al, 2004) and Cape Verde (Eliot, 1906), so that its distribution seems to be limited to the biogeographical unit known as Macaronesic Region.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Plocamopherus maderae
Sources:
: OBIS
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: GBIF.ORG
: OPK
: VIMAR
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

Abundance

    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:

More pictures

Bibliography

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Herrero, Aketza, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Plocamopherus maderae" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 06/12/2014, Accessed: 19/04/2018 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/axGjj)

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