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Friday, October 9, 2009

Golden Dirona Nudibranch

The other day when we got back to the dock, my friend and fellow naturalist Sarah found this nudibranch on one of the dock pilings. Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, are mollusks, so are somewhat surprisingly in the same phylum as chitons, clams, octopi, and squids. There are several different colorful species of nudibranch that can be seen locally. This one is a golden dirona (Dirona aurantia). Members of the Dirona genus are identified by the large, soft "spines" that grow off the back called cerata, and it is through these appendages that oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange occurs.


julie said...

ah... nudibranchs! my favorite marine inverts. i did my undergrad thesis on a marine hare (similar to nudibranchs) in bodega bay, a green little guy/girl with black stripes, phyllaplysia taylori (zebra hare or something like that). you can find them in the san juans too, hanging on the eel grass blades in shallow waters.

Warren Baker said...

Looks like an underwater flame! Nice.

Monika said...

Julie - I don't think I've seen the marine hare. I'll have to look that up. Can you see them while kayaking?

Warren - How true! I like that comparison.