Three fiery nudibranchs and an egg ribbon

Sea life: Fiery nudibranch

There is always much excitement when we find a new nudibranch. Despite having done over 200 dives in the waters of False Bay and the Atlantic, my checklist for nudibranchs found here has very few ticks on it. I am well practised at spotting gas flame, frilled, crowned and black nudibranchs. Warty and mosaic pleurobranchs are easy.

Three fiery nudibranchs (towards the bottom right of the photo)
Three fiery nudibranchs (towards the bottom right of the photo)

When I took this photograph at Photographer’s Reef in late May, I suspected that the three creatures at the bottom right were nudibranchs. There were other things going on (rapidly decreasing visibility, for example) that were giving me the twitches, so I didn’t stay to look at them as long as I should have. Closer examination of the photo when we got home revealed three fiery nudibranchs (Okenia amoenula) and an egg ribbon.

Three fiery nudibranchs and an egg ribbon
Three fiery nudibranchs and an egg ribbon

The Bible of local nudibranch identification. Guido Zsilavecz’s book Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay (get it from SURG), tells me that these nudibranchs are commonly found in groups, with egg ribbons. The specimen to the right of the photograph seems fairly typical if I compare it to the photos in Guido’s book.

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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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