After a somewhat disappointing week in the Caribbean (photographically speaking), I came home and did three days of diving along my beloved California Coast. What a wonderful week it has been! The ocean seems to be coming alive again after taking a break over the winter. The warmer “El Nino” waters seemed to have been detrimental to our local small marine animals, but now they are making a comeback. I found many species of nudibranchs and their eggs on my dives and even some I haven’t seen before. Here are a few of my favorites:
This nudibranch is actually a headshield slug called a Navanax. It is carnivorous and will track it’s prey (other nudibranchs) by following their slime trail until it catches them and eats them.
This Hopkin’s Rose is one of my favorite nudi’s. It is very small (about the size of a fingernail).
This was one of hundreds of Hermissendra crassicornis that were all over the rocks. I haven’t seen any for a few years, so this was particularly exciting.
Here is a Porter’s Chromodorid, which is only about an inch long and seems to be proliferating in the Laguna Beach area.
Porter’s cousin, MacFarland was also present and accounted for.
There were so many Hermissendra crassicornis at this site that they were crawling all over the other nudibranchs, including this Diaulula sandiegensis (San Diego Dorid).
And to my great joy and satisfaction, I found this Polycera tricolor, a nudibranch I have never seen before.
Lately, I haven’t seen the nudibranch in the above picture (which I discovered a year ago at Catalina Island, and which has not been defined yet), There have been reports that it is alive and well on the island and hopefully here to stay in California.