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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spiny goddess of the sea

Wine-plume Dorid (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis)

This nudibranch was photographed on Bodega Head on 7 July 2012.  Note the white/gray background color, the yellow-tipped papillae, and the red (wine-colored) rhinophores and margins of the gill plume.

Here's a view head-on where you can also see the narrow yellow margin.

The rhinophores are chemosensory organs (rhinophore means "bearing a nose").  To increase the surface area for smelling, the rhinophores often have additional folds or lamellae (see close-up below).

This species has been reported eating bryozoans and compound ascidians (tunicates).  In the first photo above, there are bryozoans on the rock to the right of the nudibranch (they look a bit like lace), but I don't know if the nudibranch was eating them.

The genus, Acanthodoris, means "spiny goddess of the sea", and refers to the spiny-looking papillae covering the body surface (see below).

Keep your eyes open for this beauty when tidepooling along the rocky outer coast!

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