Tochuina tetraquetra

Photo courtesy of Marc Chamberlain
Browning Pass, Vancouver Island

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.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Sept. 2004

Marc and Webmaster (background)
Anilao, Batangas, Philippines, circa 1995

Marc Chamberlain is by vocation a neurologist and by avocation a wildlife photographer. He enjoys traveling during which he is always toting cameras. His diving holidays have been to the Carribean, up and down the west coast of the Americas and throughout the Indo-Pacific. His photographs have appeared in numerous magazines including: National Geographic; International and National Wildlife; Ocean Realm; Outside; and various Cousteau Societypublications. Marc has collaborated on several books including Nudibranchs of the Pacific Coast. Marc was also San Diego Underwater Photographic Society Photographer of the Year six times during the time he lived in the San Diego County area. Marc has participated in thirteen consecutive San Diego Underwater Society Film Festivals which has to be a club record!

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!

Send Marc mail at

Taxonomic information courtesy of:

David W. Behrens

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

Send Dave mail at

© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 2004. All Rights Reserved.