Thursday, June 5, 2014

Flatworm-Nudibranch Look-alikes

In tropical coral reef communities, flatworms of the order Polycladida have developed a unique defensive strategy. Although many secrete noxious chemicals, which they advertise with bright aposematic coloration, many have adopted colors and patterns that match those of local, toxic sea slugs. This Mullerian and/or Batesian mimicry is enough to confuse and repel would-be predators. Below are photos of these flatworms and their nudibranch counterparts, illustrating the striking similarities between them.
Pseudoceros imitatus (flatworm)
Phyllidiella pustulosa (nudibranch)
Pseudobiceros spp. (flatworm)
Chromodoris magnifica (nudibranch)
Eurylepta spp. (flatworm)
Phyllidia polkadotsa (nudibranch)
Pseudobiceros spp. (flatworm)
Glossodoris symmetricus (nudibranch)
Pseudoceros sapphirinus (flatworm)
Philinopsis gardineri (Aglajid slug)
Pseudoceros laingensis (flatworm)
Chromodoris aureopurpurea (nudibranch)
Eurylepta spp. (flatworm)
Chromodoris lochi (nudibranch)
Pseudoceros goslineri (flatworm)
Platydoris formosa (nudibranch)
Pseudoceros zebra (flatworm)
Chromodoris fidelis (nudibranch)
Thysanozoon/Acanthozoon spp. (flatworm)
Phyllidia ocellata (nudibranch)
Pseudoceros spp. (flatworm)
Chromodoris kuniei (nudibranch)
Pseudobiceros gloriosus (flatworm)
Dendrodoris arborensis (nudibranch)

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