Nudibranch Week Day 3: The Jackpot

Today you’re in for a bit of a treat as I was when I happened to meet Dewalt and Evalyn (no clue if I spelled their names correctly) who if I remember correctly were from Fort Lauderdale. This was my 20th dive at the Blue Heron Bridge and while I could have gone out solo and been ok (and in fact I actually ended up losing them during the dive and finished this one solo), I was still in the mode of randomly introducing myself to other divers before gearing up and seeing if I could tag along with them. When I started talking to Dewalt and Evalyn, they said they were planning on searching for nudibranchs.

Now, as I said, this was my 20th dive at the bridge and I had found 4 different sea slugs (and no true nudibranchs) up to that time, so I was rather skeptical but hopeful that they would show me some tricks. Sure enough, we were in the water no more than 10 minutes when they pointed out the first one, and then a little bit later a second species. Either they just weren’t in the area before this (possible but unlikely) or I just needed something to train my eye for what to look for, because by the end of the dive I found two more species myself and multiple individuals. After that, I spotted nudibranchs on a regular basis. So without further ado, I give you the four species found during this dive…

This first one might be a Frosty Mordilla (Noumeaella kristenseni) or Spurilla sargassicola. I am not sure as my photos are not the best and the ID books are sometimes tough to use with a single photo. I do remember Evalyn telling me that usually she finds these in the sargasm. Either way, a cool nudi.

This next one is almost certainly a Cratena cf. peregrina

The third nudibranch (which I can’t remember if I found on my own or if Dewalt pointed it out) is possibly a Flabellina cf. bandeli or some other Flabellina species. The photo in my ID book shows the white line down the back of the bandeli nudibranch to be just a narrow strip whereas this one seems to be almost the entire back.

This last one I definitely found myself and found several individuals and is almost certainly a Western Dondice (Dondice occidentalis). They tend to be fairly varied in coloration, but I have heard Laura mention seeing Dondice on a regular basis, and the photo that is labeled as being from Florida is a pretty good match for these nudis.

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One thought on “Nudibranch Week Day 3: The Jackpot

  1. Laura Kushner

    August 24, 2021 at 9:15pm

    The fist one is Spurilla DuPonte, named for Anne DuPont who coauthored a book on nudis and was the first to discover it at the bridge. The second and fourth are correct. I am not good at the Flabellinas and I know a few have new names. So much fun. Great shots.

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    • Laura Kushner

      August 25, 2021 at 9:05am

      Upon further research, on this side of the Atlantic, the Cratena is probably Cratena minor.

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