Ceratosoma sinuata

Photo courtesy of Kerry Pilot
Maui, Hawaii

Ceratosoma sinuata (van Hasselt, 1824)

My wife (Kerry) and I have had the good fortune over the past several years to see and photograph the "Jolly Green Giant" on four occasions and are delighted to share our good fortune with other nudibranch lovers.

The Jolly Green Giant image above was taken at a place we call Turtle Valley, South Maui, shore dive in the Makena area. We were at a depth of 46 feet, not the best dive conditions, surge with lots of that "hair algae" all over the place, as evidence by the few strands laying across the nudi.

Doug and Kerry Pilot
Maui, Hawaii
Aug. 2003

WEBMASTER'S NOTES: For those of you that are scrambling to discover what your reference texts or field guides can tell you about the "Jolly Green Giant", I have asked Dr. Hans Bertsch to comment on how this branch acquired this particular name.

Here are Hans' Comments:

".....This animal has been one of my favorites since Scott Johnson and I published the first photographs of this species in our book Hawaiian Nudibranchs. Since then, it has been studied and reported from across the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

Rather than unnecessarily repeating what has already been clearly distributed, I simply refer the reader to Bill Rudman's web site for his commentaries on this species. He also describes the 1999 research paper by Ángel Valdés and Terry Gosliner, in which they change its generic placement from Miamira to Ceratosoma.

Dr. Rudman said he did not really know the origin of the common name Scott and I gave to this bright green animal, but mentioned that there was a helicopter in the Vietnam War with a similar name. That is not the connection.

So, where did the name come from? Since common names are essentially meaningless in many ways (conveying no real scientific information) that name was a joke. Our specimen was less than 20 mm long. A vegetable company had for some years been advertising its products with a huge green fellow in a leafy toga (arms crossed, legs spread across a fertile valley), saying, "Ho, ho, ho! Welcome to the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant." One of their ad copies said, "Welcome to the Valley, where goodness grows and great tasting vegetables are picked at the peak of perfection." So, using two contradictory characters: green color, but extremely small size (!) we decided to nickname Ceratosoma sinuata "the Jolly Green Giant." Please check out the web sites of this company for a glimpse of this "Ho-Ho-Ho" fellow:


Dr. Hans Bertsch
Imperial Beach, Calif
Aug. 2003

Picture of Kerry photographing a Flying Gurnard

Kerry Pilot has been an avid scuba diver and nature photographer since 1972. It wasn't until 2002 that she decided to publish her photographs when she started MAUISEALIFE.COM She dives nearly every day where she lives on Maui, Hawaii, and her photographs are on display and sale at The Maui Ocean Center Aquarium and the Pacific Whale Foundation stores on Maui as well as on her website.

Send Kerry email at kerry@mauisealife.com

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