Key:  Suborder Dendronotacea

Phylum Mollusca
 Class Gastropoda
  Subclass Opisthobranchia
    Order Nudibranchia

Taken primarily from  Kozloff, 1987, 1996
 
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Lower taxonomic level Main Page Alphabetic Index Systematic Index Glossary
1a  Body stout, more massive than most slugs; dorsal outgrowths represented by numerous small gill tufts concentrated along a definite dorsolateral margin on both sides of the body 2
1b Body sluglike; dorsal outgrowths represented by cerata that are either bushy, club-shaped (with rings of tubercles), or paddlelike, these cerata being arranged in a longitudinal row on both sides of the body (but there are no definite dorsolateral margins) 5
2a With white gill tifts that form unbroken rows extending from the rhinophores to the tail region; anterior border of the oral veil white, crenulate, but without papillae; dorsum apricot-orange, with patches of white pigment, the sides lighter. Tochuina tetraquetra
2b Gill tufts of each row separated by obvious spaces; anterior border of the oral veil with simple papillae; body color mostly pale pink to deep salmon or rose 3
3a Dorsum pale pink, usually with an intricate pattern of white lines; edge of rhinophore sheath smooth; oral veil with about 10 long, slender papillae Tritonia festiva
3b Dorsum salmon or rose, without a pattern of white lines, the sides lighter; edge of rhinophore sheath crenulate; oral veil with 10-30 short papillae 4
4a (Although external characters are helpful in separating the next two species, dissection may be necessary to confirm the identification):  Body about as wide as high; length up to 8 cm; oral veil with up to 25 (usually 10-16) papillae; dissection reveals a white oral canal, a short stout penis, and denticles on the masticatory border Tritonia exsulans
4b Body decidedly wider than high; length up to 12 cm; oral veil usually with 18 papillae; dissection reveals a reddish brown or orange oral tube, an elongate, clubbed penis, and absence of denticles on the masticatory border Tritonia diomedea
5a With large oral hood that has numerous filiform tentacles around its margin; usually with 4-6 pairs of paddle-shaped cerata; oral hood with small, earlike rhinophores.  Body translucent yellowish gray, with opaque brown hepatic diverticula Melibe leonina
5b Without an oral hood, although an oral veil may be present; cerata bushy or club-shaped; rhinophores large and prominent 6
6a Cerata club-shaped, with 3-6 whorls of rounded tubercles; clavus of rhinophores smooth; rhinophore sheath may be crenulate, but not drawn out into prominent papillae that give it a crownlike appearance 7
6b Cerata bushy; clavus of rhinophores perfoliate (with encircling flanges), rhinophore sheath drawn out into 4-10 simple or branched papillae that give it a crownlike appearance 9
7a
7b
8a
8b
9a Oral veil large, wide, overhanging the mouth region, and usually with 3 pairs of long, branched papillae on its anterolateral third; with a white line around the edge of the foot, or yellowish white spots liberally scattered over the whole body, including the cerata, rhinophores, and veil papillae (background color pale red-brown, with darker reddish-brown patches) Dendronotus albopunctatus
9b Oral veil not large and wide, and only slightly overhanging the mouth region, and usually with more than 3 pairs of papillae on its anterior third (if only 3 pairs of papillae are present on the veil, these are seldom long and branched); usually without a white line around the edge of the foot, but if such a line is present, there are few or no white spots scattered over the body. 10
10a With a vertical row of 3-6 small, bushy outgrowths on the posterior border of the rhinophore stalk; with an opaque white line around the edge of the foot (body color gray or gray-brown to deep orange-red; with 4-7 pairs of tall, bushy cerata tipped with dark purple, orange, yellow, or white, or some combination of these colors; length up to 30 cm but usually 6-18 cm) Dendronotus iris
10b Without outgrowths on the posterior border of the rhinophore stalk; without an opaque white line around the foot 11
11a Without lateral papillae on the rhinophore stalks; cerata tall and stout, branching in a rosette pattern about halfway up; body usually pale to dark reddish brown, mottled, and with 4 parallel reddish brown longitudinal lines on the dorsum, 2 on each side, joining the bases of the rhinophores and each successive pair of cerata (occasionally the body is white, yellow, or orange, but at least portions of the 4 reddish brown lines will be evident).  Length up to 5 cm Dendronotus subramosus
11b Usually with lateral papillae on the rhinophore stalks (these papillae may, however, be reduced or absent in Dendronotus albus and D. diversicolor); cerata branched in a fanlike pattern, with the fan oriented at a right angle with respect to the surface of the body; dorsum without 4 reddish brown longitudinal lines 12
12a Length usually more than 4 cm and sometimes up to 30 cm; with 4-8 pairs of very bushy cerata; with 4 or 5 pairs of large, extensively branched papillae on the oral veil; with 20 or more simple or branched lip papillae 13
12b  Length usually 1 to 4 cm but sometimes up to 6 cm; with 4-8 pairs of sparsely branched cerata; with 3 or 4 pairs of papillae on the oral veil; with up to 8 simple lip papillae 14
13a
13b
14a Body white or lilac, with white and/or orange on the tips of the cerata; with a dorsomedial white line extending from the tip of the tail to at least the posteriormost pair of cerata 15
14b Body pale brown to dark reddish brown, sometimes whitish; without a dorsomedial white line between the tip of the tail and the posteriormost pair of cerata.  Length up to 5 cm, usually 1.5 to 3 cm; with 5-7 pairs of moderately branched cerata; 4 pairs of simply branched papillae on the oral veil; up to 6 simple lip papillae; body delicate and sluglike.  Note:  The following color morphs prevail:  1) body pale brown, with yellow caps on the tubercles and with small yellow or white flecks on the outgrowths of the dorsum.  2) body whitish with a few small pinkish brown spots on the dorsum.  3) body dark reddish brown, often with large patches of white pigment between the cerata and/or on the sides, ventral to the cerata, and with white or yellow spots on the dorsum and its outgrowths Dendronotus frondosus
15a With 5-8 pairs of moderately branched cerata; often with a few nearly conical papillae on the dorsum; body translucent white with opaque white pigment on the distal portions of the cerata, rhinophore stalk and crown papilla, veil papillae, and lateral papillae; with a dorsomedial white line extending from the tip of the tail to the level of the 4th to 2nd pairs of cerata (in some individuals the core of the cerata shows a gradation, proximally to distally, from tan to golden yellow to copper to white).  Length up to 4.5 cm, usually 1-3 cm Dendronotus albus
15b Usually with 4 pairs (rarely 5) of tall, slender, sparsely branched cerata; dorsum without papillae; body translucent white or lilac, with intergrades occasionally seen; with opaque white and/or metallic orange pigment on the distal portions of the cerata and on the rhinophores and veil papillae; with a dorsomedial white line extending from the tip of the tail to the posteriormost pair of cerata; length up to 7 cm, usually 3-6 cm Dendronotus diversicolor



Taxonomic Levels Represented in This Key:
  Dendronotus diversicolor
  Dendronotus iris



Page created by Dave Cowles, 2005
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