Tochuina tetraquetra(Pallas, 1788)
Webmaster Mike ran Tochuina as the Branch of the Week way back in the infancy of the Sea Slug Site as BOW #18 . This brightly colored species is commonly referred to as "Tochni" by the indigenous people of the Kuril Islands, on the Russian end of the Kamchatka Pennisula. This was one of the first species I was aware of that has been eaten by humans. The people of the Kuril Islands collect the species in the shallows and eat the species raw or cooked. The other species consumed by our brethren are the sea hares Stylocheilus , Dolabella and Aplysia kurodai .
T. tetraquetra is a large species measuring up to a foot in length. It feeds on a range of octocorals including the gorgonian Euplexaura marki, the nephtheid soft-coral Gersemia rubiformis, and Sea Pen Ptilosarcus gurneyi. Recently Clinton Bauder has documented the species on the Red Gorgonian , Lophogorgia chilensis.
As mentioned in the earlier BOW, this species also has some commercial value being used in neurological research, because of its large brain ganglia. It is easy to identify being deep yellow-orange in color covered with white tipped tubercles. The gill is comprised of an irregular series of low, white tufts along the margins of the body.
In Marcís photo from British Columbia, we see a specimen laying a yellow egg mass that looks very much like the egg mass of Navanax inermis.Its reported range extends from the Kurils in Russia, Alaska, Canada and south to Malibu, in Los Angeles County, California.
Marc has been very generous in his contribution of images to the Slug Site through the years. Since the Site's inception in Nov. 1995, Marc enjoys the number one position of having either collarborated on or contributed the most images on the Slug Site!
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David W. Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
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