Berthella californica
La Jolla Shores
Steve Gardner

Berthella californica

Berthella californica Dall, 1990

The California Berthella is a large distinctive pleurobranch or side-gilled opisthobranch. Known in earlier scientific literature as Pleurobranchus californica and P. denticulatus, this species and other members of this Order differ from dorid nudibranchs having the gill positioned below the notum along the right side of the foot, rather than posterio-dorsally. The rhinophores are rolled and also emanate from below the notum.

Berthella californica can easily be identified by the white line along the margin of the notum and on the rhinophores, and the white specks or dots covering the dorsum. The ground color of the dorsum varies from translucent white to brown, as seen in this specimen (see Pacific Coast Nudibranchs, species #30, page 38 for both color extremes).

Although named for the State of California, this species ranges along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. from Point Craven, Alaska to the north, to the Coronados Islands, Baja California to the south. Specimens may reach 5 cm in length and lay huge white undulating egg ribbons, as seen here.

Photo courtesy of Steve Gardner, San Diego, CA. Send Steve mail at

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Taxonomic information courtesy of:

David W. Behrens

Author: Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Co-Author Coral Reef Animals of the Indo Pacific
Propriator of Sea Challengers Natural History Books !

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