Can anyone ID this hitch hiker nudibranch? Coral eater?

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shaynablizard

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Several weeks ago I added a new coral to my tank, a gregorian coral, and it came with a cute little white sea slug of some sort. I had pulled the slug off the coral and moved it to the other side of the tank. The tank is only 29 gallons, so that is not far, but it only took about a day for this little guy to find the coral again. He has never left it. He moves all around the coral everyday and stays on it. I cannot see that he's doing any damage to it. The polyps pull in where he's at, but those same polyps extend later when he moves. I had been watching for signs of damage. I am curious though.... what is this nudibranch and is he doing any harm to the coral? I've kind of taking a liking to him, so it's not likely I'm going to remove him.

sea slug.JPG
 

SubRosa

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Terminate. Terminate with extreme prejudice. You have a Nudibranch which is an obligate feeder. That means it eats only one thing. Guess what that is.
 

shaynablizard

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Oh no! That isn't the response I wanted! Ok well I wanted to know what it's really doing, so thank you for giving me the answer, but what damage can it cause? I was hoping it was maybe cleaning the coral. You can see where the polyps are pulled in during this picture, however they fully extended later, leading me to believe the nudibranch isn't actually eating the polyps or anything. It's such a cute little parasite too! Did I really just say that? :screwy: I will continue to watch it closely.

I am also adding a full tank shot below so you can see the actual size of this, just to put in perspective how small it is. This is a 29 gallon biocube and the gregorian coral is on the right hand side behind the larger onyx clown. The nudibranch is just a little thing on that coral. Due to it's size, it seems pretty harmless. Is it possible for it to reproduce rapidly and take over my tank? I'm pretty certain it is the only one in the tank.

20120812_195541.jpg
 
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SubRosa

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Good luck. There's quite possibly more than one.
 

shaynablizard

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Good luck. There's quite possibly more than one.
Yeah that's what I'm wondering. I was just adding to my post wondering if there could be more than one and if they can multiply quickly. I am one of those people who can't squish a spider. I really hope this little guy doesn't cause any damage. I've seen some places sell nudibranches... I assume those are a different non-coral eating variety?
 

SubRosa

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Look how closely your Nudi resembles the polyps of soft coral. That's what it eats. That particular type comes in very frequently and will kill corals. You don't have to squish it, just pick up from in the tank and put it down someplace out of the tank. Like in a running blender, garbage disposal, or in front of the mower as you're cutting your lawn.
 

greech

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Looks to be from the family Tritoniidae which reportedly eats hydroids, sea pens, soft corals, etc. Honestly, there are just so many nudis out there and VERY little is known about them. Even species within a family or genus don't behave the same way. Some might look like their food and others might simply look like their hosts to avoid predation while they hunt for their prey. It's beautiful and if I could defiitively figure out what exact species it is (and what it eats), I might even consider keeping it. Gorgs, soft corals, etc. are pretty much free around here. Bad news is that if you like soft corals, these nudis have a very short larval stage which means lots of little nudis could be luking around.

http://www.poppe-images.com/?t=17&photoid=931559

http://www.nudipixel.net/species/tritoniopsis_elegans/
 
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