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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 54

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Cucumber? Likely Vermetid Gastropod -- 9/3/10
Hey Crew,
<Hey Chris, Lynn here today. How are you doing, my friend?
Just found this guy today and was wanting some reassurance that it is a cucumber.
<I don't think it's a Cuke. Judging from the combination of those two antennae and what looks like a shell/tube that it's emerging from, I think it's more than likely a harmless Vermetid Gastropod. Please see the following links for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Vermetids/tubesnailidf.htm
By the way, let me know if I'm misinterpreting the photo. That is, the critter is not actually living within a tube-like, coralline encrusted shell.>
It is about 1/4" long and 1/4" diameter. My tank is a year old and I have had quite a few hitch hikers, some good, some bad. You guys (and gals) have helped me ID some of them and a picture of my Scutus Snail (Batman) was on the short list for an article that one of you was help put together.
<That's right and I'm hoping to see it in the next issue of Ultramarine Magazine (#24: October/November)! As soon as I find out, I'll let you know.>
Thanks for the help and keep up the great work y'all are doing.
<You're very welcome, and thank you!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

help ID some critters - 8/17/10
Hello from South Africa!
<Hello from the Mendips!>
You really have such a great, informative website.
<Thank you>
I was hoping you would be able to help me ID these critters that have hitched a ride on some Indonesian live rock I recently purchased. I am starting up a new system so I don't have any livestock or substrate in the tank just yet.
I am obviously concerned that some of these could be detrimental in the long run and I am hoping to establish a mixed reef tank.
I apologise as the picture quality is not the greatest.
<I think they are ok>
There are a number of these hairy crabs in the live rock and I have seen them graze on algae.
<I think these are Xanthid crabs, but I am not able to i.d. to the species. They may graze on algae as well as any opportune morsel they can, so they cannot be considered 'safe'. http://www.chucksaddiction.com/hitchcrabs.html . If they don't seem to be a problem you can leave them, just keep an eye out for trouble. The large claws indicate that they will take meaty fare, which could include just about anything>
I also have these small anemones which don't appear to be bigger than about 5mm (about a quarter inch)
<These appear to be Scleractinian corals of some kind, not anemones. It looks like they have a hard, circular corallite underneath the polyps, which themselves seem to have light coloured tips. A lucky hitchhiker if so! Have a look through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stonycoridfaq.htm>
Thanks very much for your assistance!
<No problem>
help ID some critters
<Sujan, I have just taken another look at your picture, and I would remove that 'reaching' stalk of Caulerpa to the left of the picture... this is a danger to the coral growing there. Simon>

Re: help ID some critters 8/18/10
Hi Simon
<Hi Sujan>
Thank you so much for the advice.
<It's a pleasure!>
I do have a few branches of these grape Caulerpa on a few pieces of rock.
Not too much but better to stop it in its tracks before it becomes a problem.
<It can race across the rocks and literally grow 'through' Cnidarian life, to say nothing of the toxicity of large amounts of it.>
I have also noticed this other type of algae which resembles tufts of grass - could this also be problematic?
<Only if it gets too prolific. A little algae growth is expected and desired>

ID Please: Nudibranch, Possibly Melibe viridis -- 8/5/10
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hello James, Lynn here today.>
I received this as a freebie from my LFS in Nagasaki, Japan. I have no idea what it is and was wondering if you might shed some light.
<What you have is a neat little Nudibranch in the genus Melibe, family Tethydidae. Without knowing where it originated, I can only give you a best guess as to species. It looks most like Melibe viridis, a potentially large (up to 12cm/4.72' long) species with a taste for crustaceans. For more information/photos, please see the following link: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/meliviri >
It is 8 cm long. I've attached a picture as it looks like something you'd find under a microscope.
<Great photo!>
Whatever it is, I'm not letting it near my H. kelloggi until I know it's safe.
<Well, personally, I wouldn't add this to a seahorse tank. Although Melibe viridis is a crawler that mainly eats crustaceans, it can get fairly large. I'm not sure how large your H. kelloggi individual is but I wouldn't exclude the possibility of the Nudibranch coming across it while it's resting, trapping, and ingesting it.>
James Miller
Okayama, Japan
<Take care, Lynn Z. >
Mysterious Creature 8/5/10
Hello Lynn, hello Bob,
There's a great mysterious creature question in the marine inbox. I have NO idea at all what it is. Can't wait to hear what you think.
Cheers, Neale
Re: Mysterious Creature
Thanks Neale,
I've seen one of these odd-looking creatures before. It's a Nudibranch in the genus Melibe, possibly Melibe minuta - http://www.seaslugforum.net/meliminu.htm
I just woke up, so as soon as I get some coffee in me, I'll get the query written and sent on its way.
Take care and thanks again,
-Lynn The ones I've seen in N.E. Sulawesi, suck up/vacuum muck... will attach pix. B
Yikes! What I still have a hard time grasping is how it can consume sizable crabs without getting nipped into letting go, or shredded. That oral "veil" must be a lot tougher than it looks.
Some are outright surprisingly LARGE! Have "come across" species, specimens over a foot in length. B Wow, how neat is that? Great shots, Bob!
-Lynn Mmm, well, wrong lens... 105 mm... and too short a focal depth/width...
<Well, I guess that just shows how much I know...or don't know! I thought they looked great. It's just such a neat-looking creature. It looks like a miniature version of some space monster from the original Star Trek series.>
but neat animal.
It had some commensal Hippolytid shrimps "riding shotgun" on it, neat as sunshine. B
<Oh wow, that is neat. I guess they fed on whatever was stirred up/dislodged as the Nudi foraged? See, this is why I love ID work so much. I'm not able to see all the neat things you regularly observe in person while diving, but this way I still get to "discover", albeit vicariously, some unbelievably neat creatures. Thanks for sharing your photos..take care, Lynn>
<Welcome Lynn. B>

Taxonomy: Book Recommendations for Marine Invertebrate ID -- 7/31/10
<Hi Donald, Lynn here today.>
I am interested in learning how to identify marine invertebrates.
<My kind of guy!>
I was writing to ask which text(s) you would recommend.
<See below.>
I am getting into (not quite drowning) saltwater and currently am keeping a 29 gal mixed tank. I am sick of looking at pictures for hours trying to figure out what the heck is in my tank. It makes it much easier to reference how to care for something or whether it is good or bad if you actually know what it is.
With that being said I am seeking your opinion(s) on which books I should, You would, invest in for identifying marine invertebrates. I am interested in the taxonomy of reef invertebrates in particular if you know of a text/reference more specific to that area.
<I'll give you my top three:
1. Invertebrate Zoology, by Edward Ruppert and Robert Barnes. It's not strictly marine, but it's the best book I know of for invertebrate study. It's actually a textbook with what may initially seem like more information than you need, but if you want to get into invertebrate ID, this is a must. There are seven editions that have been released over the years that you can usually find used at a very reasonable price. I'd go with the latest edition you can afford.
2. Reef Invertebrates, An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility, by Robert Fenner and Anthony Calfo. What can I say, this is a great book!
3. Marine Invertebrates: 500+ Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species, by Ronald L. Shimek. This is a terrific, quick ID source book.
There are many other books I could recommend, but these three are a good starting spot for helping you to recognize the various groups/phyla that you might run across in your tank. As far as strictly marine invertebrate books, they're out there, but most of the ones I've run across tend to offer fairly general information, as opposed to the detailed textbook level of the Ruppert/Barnes book. It really is a terrific information source.>
Thank You.
<You're very welcome. If you need any other recommendations, please let me know!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

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