We went to Woody Head on Saturday for the regular folk music/dance event that our friends have been doing for over 20 years, but only for the day. It’s a good spot for snorkelling and looking in rock pools (nudibranchs!), as many of my previous posts attest.
We weren’t there Sunday but Peter and Linda were in the water as usual, and Linda found a Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus). I’ve longed to see one in the wild and managed to while snorkelling in the Lord Howe Island lagoon, but it was a long way down so I didn’t get a proper look. (All photos by Linda Scharf)
During daytime, the Spanish dancer hides away from the light in the crevices of its natural habitat to only come out late at night. It feeds on various species of sponge. Like all nudibranchs, it is hermaphrodite and its bright red to pink egg ribbon has a spiral shape related to the size of the animal so relatively large. The latter is coveted by some other species of nudibranch as Favorinus tsuragunus or Favorinus japonicus. The Emperor shrimp, Periclimenes imperator, is a commensal shrimp that is commonly found living on Hexabranchus sanguineus.
Well done, Linda. Next time I’m staying overnight!