Ancula lentiginosa

Photo courtesy of Dave Mulliner

Ancula lentiginosa Farmer in Farmer & Sloan, 1962

Not much is known about this little cutie, but every once in awhile someone comes across a specimen along the coast of Southern California. Like itís sister species,Ancula gibbosa (previously Ancula pacifica ), it has a slender "goniodorid" shaped body with three extra-branchial and extra-rhinophoral appendages adjacent to its gill and rhinophores, respectively.

Itís infrequent sightings may be due to itís very broken up geographic and depth ranges. Behrens (2004) reports that the range of this species is extended from Marin County, California to Bahia de los Angeles, Mexico, southward to Islote Mosquera, Isla Galápagos, Ecuador. Additionally, while usually found in diver depths, this species has also been collected on several occasions in 2300 ft of water off San Diego, California.

This dorid nudibranch likely feeds on the colonial kamptozoan (or entoproct), Barentsia sp. Entoprocts, or Kamptozoans, as they were once referred to, are microscopic moss-like colonial animals. Divers rarely notice them, and in fact I am not even aware of a photograph of an entoproct colony. Trapania velox is also thought to feed on entoprocts, however this has not been confirmed. Trapania is normally found on encrusting sponges, but like Ancula, the morphology of their radula is grossly different from that of other sponge eating dorids, and entoprocts commonly grow on and within these sponges.

Drawing of an entoproct colony.

Dave Behrens
Danville, Calif
Jan. 2005

David Mulliner is a true legend. He was Sea Hunt before Lloyd Bridges. Seriously, he has been diving and studying marine life in San Diego and Baja California for decades. He has also pioneered close-up microphotography, and is the staff photographer for the San Diego Shell Club's publication, The Festivus. His charming smile and welcoming embrace have encouraged many neophytes into studying nudibranchs and other molluscs. Dave has generously supplied specimens to many scientists. He continues to share his expertise, knowledge and photographs with all who share his love of the sea and its mollusc community.

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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

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