Triopha catalinae, known also as "the clown nudibranch" was described in 1863. A later name, Triopha carpenteri, has been dropped as it is synonymous with Cooper's earlier description. Although distinctive in coloration and certainly easy to identify, this species does exhibit some variation, ranging from pure white with orange tipped tubercles and red tipped gills to tan with minute orange specks, as shown in Pacific Coast Nudibranchs, 1st edition, Species No. 81b (Behrens, 1980). Additionally it can be confused with Crimora coneja, another polyceratid dorid which bears similar tubercles over the body, and can have similar orange coloration.
Named after Catalina Island off the coast of southern California, it has a broad range from Amchitka Island, Alaska, south to El Tomutal, Baja California. It was also reported by Kikutaro Baba in 1957 from Japan.
The above information courtesy of:
David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
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