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Nakamigawaia nakanoae

Species Profile

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Nakamigawaia nakanoae

Author: Hellum & Malaquias, 2021

Order: Cephalaspidea  Family: Aglajidae

Maximum Size: 25 mm

Sightings: Anilao, Philippines


Nakamigawaia nakanoae Hellum & Malaquias, 2021.

Nakamigawaia nakanoae presents as a typical aglajid with a broad headshield, a pair of caudal lobes and an internal shell. It presents as two morphs with different external colouration, but otherwise indistinguishable – a plain all black type and another with a brown background covered in white spots and striped patches. The body is elongated and smooth with a bluntly rounded anterior headshield. The pair of caudal lobes are asymmetrical with left lobe nearly twice as long as right lobe, not always readily apparent in images. The internal shell is “dilated with an open whorl extending half a turn,…” It is usually found crawling rapidly across sandy substrates. 

Size is most often recorded at around 10 mm in length but up to 25 mm is known.

The Aglajidae in general are hunting predators upon other motile marine life, mainly other sea slugs or polychaetes. Zamora-Silva & Malaquias, 2016, examined the gut contents of many Aglajidae species including several specimens of two species of Nakamigawia but found foraminiferan tests only.

Distribution is listed as Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Lizard Island, GBR, Australia.

It is the Nakamigawia sp. of Nakano, 2004 after whom it is named.

It is the Nakamigawaia felis (Marcus & Marcus, 1970) of Gosliner et al, 2008.

It is the Nakamigawaia spiralis Kuroda & Have, 1961 of Gosliner et al, 2015.

It is the Nakamigawia sp. of Gosliner et al, 2018.

Hellum & Malaquias, 2021, identified another possible species of the genus, undescribed, from the Philippines, through their molecular sequencing. No description, details or image of this specimen were provided so it is not possible to compare its appearance with our specimen shown here, from Anilao, Philippines, or those illustrated in their paper.

David A. Mullins – February 2024

– Nakano, R. (2004). Opisthobranchs of Japan Islands. Rules Inc. Tokyo.

– Gosliner, T. M., Behrens, D. W. & Valde ́s, A ́. (2008). Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs. Sea Challengers and California Academy of Sciences.

– Gosliner, T. M., Valde ́s, A ́. & Behrens, D. W. (2015). Nudibranch & Sea Slug Identification – Indo-Pacific. New World Publications, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

– Zamora-Silva, A. & Malaquias, M. A. E. (2016). Diet preferences of the Aglajidae: a family of cephalaspidean gastropod predators on tropical and temperate shores. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK. 96:1101–1112.

– Zamora-Silva, A. & Malaquias, M. A. E. (2017). Molecular phylogeny of the Aglajidae head-shield sea slugs

(Heterobranchia: Cephalaspidea): new evolutionary lineages revealed and proposal of a new classification. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 183:1–51.

– Gosliner, T. M., Valde ́s, A ́. & Behrens, D. W. (2018). Nudibranch & Sea Slug Identification – Indo-Pacific, 2nd Edition. New World Publications, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

– Hellum, E. & Malaquias, M. A. E. (2021). The taxonomic status of the headshield slug genus Nakamigawaia Kuroda and Habe, 1961 (Gastropoda: Cephalaspidea: Aglajidae), with the description of a new species from the Western Pacific. Journal of Natural History, Vol. 55, Nos. 35–36, 2231–2244.

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