Yes, it’s a nudibranch!

I’m used to thinking of nudibranchs as small (except for Spanish dancers), brightly coloured, soft creatures. Here’s one that breaks the mould. One of our US visitors, Mike from Alaska, found this creature in a shallow pool on the rock platform at Woody Head on Saturday when we were doing show-and-tell on the rock platform. It was about 14 cm long, and its surface was hard, leathery and knobbly. (Our other visitor, Rich, has put the photos of his trip here.)

Atagema spongiosa

I’m not sure what the white bits on the far right are (below).

Atagema spongiosa

Here’s a shot of the underneath.

Atagema spongiosa underside

It is Agatema spongiosa and was kindly identified for me by self-styled nudibranch obsessive, Gary Cobb. (Check out the nudibranch cursor on his website – way cool!) He says they are not often found intertidally. He says. ‘If you could have looked very closely you would have seen brilliant blue recesses between the raised pustules’.

The old name is Trippa spongiosa, and pre-2000 publications will use that name.

Another punch-the-air moment courtesy of the order Nudibranchia!

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2 Responses to Yes, it’s a nudibranch!

  1. Gary Cobb says:

    Very noyce if I don’t mid saying so! In the ocean on the substrate this species is very cryptic.
    Cheers Gary

  2. Definitely atypical morphology of the nudibranchia I’m familiar with, as well, Joy. As I recall, you were leaning nudibranch. Good call! Your blog photo of the ventral aspect of this creature has already made the first string of Google images on a search for the Latin name. Interestingly, I read that it feeds on sponges, which it lives among and looks very much like.

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