Janolus sp.
Courtesy of Steve Drogin

Members of the family Zephyrinidae make up some of the most beautiful and gem-like of nudibranch species. There doesn't seem to be a bland one in the bunch. This newly discovered, and not yet officially described cutie, is from the Sulawesi region of Indonesia and belongs to the genus Janolus (try to say that ten times really fast).

Steve's awesome photo captures just how delicately ornamented members of this Arminacean genus are. Let me attempt to describe just how complicated this tiny, crystal-like beauty is. As seen here the body is transparent, the internal organs showing through the densely set cerata. The rhinophores are crimson red and separated by the characteristic crest which is a folded sensory organ resembling a cock's comb. The tail of this trinket has a deep pink line down the center. The most beautiful feature is the color of the cerata which glisten like polished crystal. The tips are absolutely clear. Below this is a deep pink region followed by patches of white and gold. Wow.

Most janolids feed on branching bryozoans. The food of this species has yet been documented making a search for it a little more difficult.

Knowing that this lovely might be just around the next coral head is good enough reason to always keep one or two frames of film still available in you camera as the end of the dive draws near.

And a Happy New Year to all you slug enthusiasts from Dave, Steve and Mike!

Janolus sp. photo courtesy of Steve Drogin of San Diego, Calif.
Steve Drogin photo courtesy of James Watt of Kona, Hawaii

The Nudibranch photo was taken in October 1997 at Kungkungan Bay Resort which is located on the Lambeh Strait near Manado on the northern tip of Sulawesi in Indonesia. This area is extremely densely populated with marine life due to its cooler temperature and strong currents.

Steve is a 58 year old amateur Diver/Photographer who spends full time traveling and diving the globe. He lives in La Jolla, California and is a member of the San Diego Underwater Photographic Society. His photographic credits include an article on the sunken fleet of Bikini Atoll in Sports Divers Journal(Issue 16) .

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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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