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Sunday, November 8, 2015

What swims, and has ruffles and horns?

We're back from Sacramento, but it was a long weekend, so here's a picture from September that I haven't had a chance to share yet:

Meet Pseudoceros luteus, a beautiful, graceful flatworm.  This image is from Bodega Harbor, but I also received reports of them from Tomales Bay this year.  Jarrett was the first one to alert me to this species in Bodega Harbor perhaps around 2007?  This year, Pseudoceros luteus seems much more common in the Harbor, perhaps due to warmer water conditions.

I was wondering about this flatworm's scientific name.  I don't have access to a book of Latin names right now, so I'm just guessing that "Pseudoceros" means something like, "false horns."  [Think about a different animal with a somewhat similar name = rhinoceros = "nose horn".]

But the next question would be where are this flatworm's "false horns"?  Perhaps the name refers to the black tentacular flaps that stick up like small "horns" — they're more easily seen in the picture below.

Watch for these flatworms over the tidal flats or swimming by the docks.

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