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Sunday, November 29, 2015

A new home for Hilton's

Meet Hilton's Aeolid (Phidiana hiltoni), a distinctive nudibranch (sea slug).  This picture represents the northernmost site record for this species!  On 25 November 2015, Eric spotted ~7 individuals in the low intertidal zone at Pinnacle Gulch in Bodega Bay.  Prior to this, the farthest north this species had been recorded was Bolinas.  It's occurrence north of Point Reyes this year is likely associated with the developing El Niño event.

Note the long tentacles with a narrow orange stripe; the two rhinophores orange at the base and white above; and the dark cerata with light tips.

To see this striking nudibranch in action, check out this short video clip (thanks to Eric!).  [If you can't see the video in an e-mail, click on the link below.]


Because Hilton's Aeolid is more common from Bolinas south, any records north of Point Reyes are of great interest.  If you observe any, I'd love to hear about it!

P.S.  Some of you might recall that I briefly introduced this voracious predator a few years ago see the post from 27 April 2013.

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