Austraeolis stearnsi

Photos courtesy Dr. Hans Bertsch



Austraeolis stearnsi (Cockerell, 1901)

This beautiful aeolid is known from central California (Santa Cruz) to La Paz, Baja California Sur.

I collected this specimen at the wharf next to Posada de Engelbert. This marvelous, small, cozy hotel is owned by the famous singer and Las Vegas performer Engelbert Humperdink. It is located at the cul-de-sac of a dirt road passing through an upper-class residential area, on the west side of La Paz, near the airport. It is right on the beach, overlooking El Mogote (see Steinbeck and Ricketts Sea of Cortez for an engaging description of this region) across the bay; it has its own swimming pool, marvelous restaurant, and incredibly well-appointed rooms (many with a small sofa area in front of a fireplace, with the main bedroom just two steps up). I have stayed there several times, much to the pleasure of my friend Antonio and the general managers Hank and Jacqueline Schoknecht. Once I even met Engelbert at the poolside bar, and spoke with him. He even told my ex-girl friendís very red-haired-complexioned 15 year old to make sure to put on sun block!

Obviously, to most of us in southern California, this species has long been known as Facelina stearnsi. However, a recent paper by a student of Dr. Goslinerís at an international malacological convention in Australia changed the genus. In Dave Behrensí newest edition of his Pacific coast nudibranchs, he is incorporating this generic change.

The brilliant orange or yellowish colors are quite distinctive. It has long foot corners and oral tentacles.

The jaws are illustrated here for the first time, as are also the radular teeth. The radular teeth formula is 21-26 x 0.1.0, and the teeth are typically aeolid hydroid-eating shaped.

Dr. Hans Bertsch
Imperial Beach, California
Oct., 2005

WEBMASTER NOTES:

During the time I was diving La Jolla Shores on an infrequent basis (getting too old I guess), Austraeolis stearnsi was spotted on almost every dive. Some time back local shores diver Rick Ramsey sent me a great photograph of this guy which is being presented to illustrate the brillant orange version as it is seen locally.


DR. HANS BERTSCH IS WELL KNOWN TO READERS OF “THE SLUG SITE.”


HERE HE IS WITH ROSA ON GATUN LAKE, PANAMÁ

 





ROSA and HANS
GATUN LAKE, PANAMA
JULY 2005

Send Hans email at hansmarvida@sbcglobal.net


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