The whelk is momentarily blinded

Excuse me very much

I may have mentioned my great fondness for warty pleurobranchs before. I probably have. They’re not overtly attractive creatures, but have – to my mind – quite a lot of character. They are frequently a source of great amusement on dives because they have little regard for what they walk over and are voracious predators. Here are some recent warty pleurobranch moments that caused me to partially flood my mask laughing…

From one whelk to another
From one whelk to another

Because whelks and other molluscs can’t feel things on their hard shells, they seem to be a favourite stepping stone or even a food source. The warty pleurobranch is quite a fierce predator and possibly enjoys feeding on the algae that often encrusts whelk shells. They are also very mobile, and able to barrel over almost any surface. The next photo provides proof!

The whelk is momentarily blinded
The whelk is momentarily blinded

We observed the next little interaction while exploring one of the Ark Rock boiler wrecks. I think the warty pleurobranch was after the ornate amphipods that you can see on the brittle star – little black, yellow and white critters. At one point he was actually half on top of the brittle star’s body, only to be rebuffed by a whip-like arm pushing him out of the way.

Warty pleurobranch doesn't care about brittle stars!
Warty pleurobranch doesn't care about brittle stars!

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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