Chromodoris sphoni (Marcus, 1971)
Eveline Marcus named this beautiful species of nudibranch 25 years ago. Popular names include its patryonym "The Gale Sphon Nudibranch, " and the descriptive "Red Cross Nudibranch." Of curse, we all know that its real name is the scientific species binomial given by Eveline Marcus, not any of the "popular" nicknames it has earned!
This species ranges from the central Gulf of California to Panama, from intertidal to subtital (0-18m; 0-60 feet). It is a small animal, measuring from 10-35 mm (0.5 to 1.25 inches) long.
Its coloration is a complicated mixture of red backgrounds, with white and yellow streaks. Overall, the animal has a distinctive red-cross pattern on its back. On this are superimposed the various white and yellow streaks and dots. The dorsum edge has red, cream yellow, and red bands; the rhinophores and gills are varying shades of red (which tend to be darker distally).
In 1974 I collected these animals in Panama, feeding upon a pink-red sponge. To this day, I could not even begin to tell you the name of that sponge!!
Text courtesy of:
Scripps Inst. Oceanog.
La Jolla, CA 92093