The Chromodoris reticulata is a sea-dwelling animal. It can be found primarily living in and around coral reefs, in sub-tropical and tropical waters (Wilson, 2002). For previous observations and experiments, many scientists derive their specimens around the coast of Japan (Sekizawa, et.al. 2013). The sea slugs live as members of the coral reef, cohabiting the sea with their sponge prey (Wilson, 2002). Another coral-dwelling animal is the Hippocampus bargibanti; a sea-horse with bright colors similar to the Chromodoris reticulata. Photo provided by Tony Shih

Coral reefs need very specific conditions to be in place for their survival. The water that the coral is living in has to be saline, clear, and warm (Kleypas, et al. 1999). There has to be an adequate amount of light available to the reef, and outside forces such as incoming waves or currents can cause disturbances in the growth of coral (Kleypas, et al. 1999). Nutrients such as NO₃ and PO₄ need to be readily available for the coral to thrive as well (Kleypas, McManus, and Menez 1999).

The light availability that is needed tells us that the reefs need to be towards the surface of the water to be able to obtain the suns rays. Since the temperature needs to be warm for the coral, we can determine most of our corals are closer to the equator, because it is warmest there. Corals mainly grow off the coast of land located around the equator. Large masses of the Chromodoris reticulata are found in correlation with the pattern of coral reef locations, primarily off the coasts of Australia, Japan, and Africa (Wilson, 2002). Read about a crazy "brain" coral that can be found growing in a coral reef here.  A coral reef acts as a barrier between the harsh sea and the land (Molberg and Folke 1999). It also proves as a dominating ground for breeding and nursing among species such as the Chromodoris reticulata, because of the protection and species diversity it offers (Molberg and Folke 1999). There are four main regions where coral can be found; Indo-West Pacific (IWP), Eastern Pacific (EP), Western Atlantic (WA), and the Eastern Atlantic (EA) (Molberg and Folke 1999). Temperature, salinity, light, nutrients, and wave pressure all change when moving closer or farther away from shore. For example, farther out from the shore the water becomes colder, light is less accessible, and so the conditions for coral to grow becomes harder, if not impossible.

Map of coral locations             Figure 1. Map depicting regions of the world where coral reef is found

The Chromodoris reticulata is dependent on the safe, and protective conditions of the coral reef to survive. It is also where the sea slug’s prey is most plentiful (Be specific) (Wilson, 2002). Since this is a sea-dwelling animal, you will not find the organism out of water. You will also not find them in freshwater locations, as they live in the saltwater bodies. By living in conjunction with coral reefs, there are some risks involved. If the coral reef dies off, the sea slug has no where to live. This is a rising concern as coral reefs are becoming more and more endangered.

There are many organisms that can be found in the coral reef living with the Chromodoris reticulata, such as the clown fish,  . There are over 300 Chromodorid nudibranch species alone (Turner and Wilson 2008), which creates a wide variety. Many of these are found living alongside the Chromodoris reticulata, cohabitating under one reef. The sea slugs tend to stick near the hard, colorful stones under the sea level of the beaches near the reef (Eliot 1911). Another organism found close to the surface is the Pseudosqullia ciliata. In some areas, the stones match with the colorful nudibranchia to offer some camouflage (Eliot 1911). In other areas, the slugs vibrant colors stick out, and serve as a warning towards other species (Eliot 1911).

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