Herviella affinis

Size about 8mm
Photo courtesy of Denis Riek
Hastings Point, Australia

Herviella affinis Baba 1960

Its quite a treat to receive a BOW candidate with the detective work already done. Such is the case with a recent submission by Denis Riek who previously provided the photos for the Janolus sp. presentation a couple of weeks back. The physical attributes (including the egg mass) of his most recent submission are entirely consistent with that presented by the Sea Slug Forum and Jun Imamoto's excellent Japanese slug site. Herviella affinis can also be seen on page 261 of Opisthobranchs of Japan Islands . All of the Japanese collection data and Denis's experience indicate that this species likes the intertidal area where great diligence and a strong back are required to find their habitat. Also, as Denis indicated in his communication to me, this guy is a long way from home (Japan)! How did this come about? Who knows!, but I wonder know how many branchers are actively working the tidal pools? I decided a long time ago that being on SCUBA was a lot easier than turning rocks which probably means I would never encounter Herviella affinis in the manner that Denis did. In this regard, the names of Jeff Goddard and Jim Lance come to mind (among many others), long time west coast branchers who still work the intertidal areas the United States and Mexican coasts.

To quote Denis on his marvelous find:

".... This photo of an Aeolid was taken in a shallow protected rock pool, under natural light.It was taken at Hastings Point, a small rock shelf area about 30 km north of Byron Bay, which offers good snorkeling and often has tropical species showing up. On a visit in March(05) I was too early in the tide and breaking waves forced me to kill some time checking some of the more protected rock pools.Under a rock in one pool I found four of these slugs along with some egg coils. This one was the biggest at approx. 8mm. Of all the shots I took this is the best I could manage. Focusing a digital on super macro and with old eyes can be difficult. I can usually get a good result if I can brace the camera against something solid and if the surface is very smooth. Wind ripples give a horrible effect in very shallow water. Both the slug and the egg coils appear identical to Herviella affinis Baba 1960 featured in Jun Imamoto's excellent site.I have not been able to confirm the ID although Jun thinks it could be H. affinis . The Sea Slug Forum gives its range as Japan so it may be a long way from home..."

Wow!, talk about a can do attitude! Let's hear it for Denis down under! Denis certainly puts to rest the notion that spending a lot of money on scuba gear and expensive underwater camera gear is the only way to get great branch pics!

Mike Miller
San Diego, Calif
July, 2005

Denis Riek

I'm in my mid fifties and married with two grown kids.Spent my early years working as ground staff with Qantas Airways in Sydney, then escaped the rat-race and headed north.My greatest passion is surfing(to my wifes great displeasure) but I have also had a lifelong fascination with invertebrate marine life, especially molluscs.Collected shells when I was younger but would rather now just collect images of living marine life. I have no qualifications in marine studies, a total amateur, but I still get blown away when I see something new while diving. Cant afford tanks and all the associated tackle, whereas snorkelling is cheap and keeps me fit. Have only been taking underwater shots for about 3 years so I'm still a learner.Started with a Pentax K in a home-made housing and flash unit and last year broke the bank and bought an Olympus C-5060 and housing.I wish had enough for an external flash as well but I compensate by doing what Garry Cobb did and put a lens on the front of the housing and using the internal flash with a little bit of zoom.Its not always successful but I get by.Digitals seem to want think for themselves so sometimes I have to move to shallow water and use natural light.

Have almost finished a site on local species but I dont know when that will be on line as that also costs money and at the moment I'm flat out like a lizard drinking,(Old Aussie saying!) getting my daughter through University.Never mind, as long as I wake up breathing I cant complain. Well thats about it. I suppose "old surf dog who loves sea slugs" sums me up.Some of my surfing buddies think its a wierd fascination but I know your readers will understand.

I hope to have a site devoted to local species up and running in the near future.I am living at Brunswick Heads, just a couple of miles north of Byron Bay on the east coast Australia.I snorkel regularly in the small river here and have come across some very interesting species at times. I am using an Olympus C-5060 that I have had for nearly a year and am really glad I went digital, so easy when you can just plug into a computer and there it is, no waiting for films to come back.

Denis Riek
Brunswick Heads
July 2005

Send Denis email at dwriek@optusnet.com.au

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
March 2005

Ali Hermosillo and Dave 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 dave@seachallengers.com

© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 2005. All Rights Reserved.