Mystery Slug

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines
Photo courtesy of Jim Black

Mystery Slug

This week we are taking a slightly different tact in presenting the Branch of the Week (BOW). This week's submission by Jim Black has our experts dumfounded, so we are inviting our readers to come forth with any ideas as to its identity or perhaps even submit additional pictures of this guy.

Jim relates that our sea slug was found on a daytime dive in Anilao, Phillipines by dive guide Alexis Principe.

The Webmaster
San Diego, California
October, 2005

We have some updated information (see below) and photos that may aid in the identification of "Mystery Slug" thanks to finder Alexis Principe. Dave Behrens has insisted from the beginning that "Mystery Slug" was the same animal portrayed on page 148 in his recent book "Nudibranch Behavior" . Initially, I wasn't buying into this argument but I certainly am now! Check out the latest photos; Photo A and Photo B of Mystery Slug, thanks to Alexis, and Joey and Cindy Alford!

...We found the slug at Matu Point in Anilao at around 100 feet in sandy gravel substrate with algal covering. I didnít observe the slug feeding on anything that time. Since it was the first time I saw this species and was fascinated by its colors, I decided to bring the slug back to Club Ocellaris resort to have its picture taken by Mr. Jim Black (who was diving with a different group) so that he can show it to you guys and other experts for identification, as heís been a contributor to many articles and scientific studies. As it was late in the afternoon, Mr. Jim Black had to shoot it the next day early in the morning at Matu Point. Looking at the photo in your website, I was thinking that maybe it was stressed out from the overnight stay but I'm hopeful that it may have gotten better after being returned to its previous site by Mr. Jim Black.

Attached are pictures of the slug in, I think, a healthier state, taken by a warm and wonderful couple, Joey and Cindy Alford from Louisiana, who I was guiding at that time and was with me when I spotted it. I have asked their permission to send this photo to your website. Really hope this picture helps..."

Alexis Principe
Nov. 2005

Jim Black in cockpit

Jim is currently on medical leave with US Airways after 27 years as a pilot..., flying Captain on an Airbus 330 Internationally.

Diving since 1970...with over 5200 dives logged. Shoots Nikon F4s in housing and Nikonos RS.

Jim's photography has been featured in a number of books and publications including Helmut Debelius' Nudibranchs and Sea Snails of Gosliner, Behrens and Williams Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific. A photo of Jim petting a shark in "Sleeping Shark Caves" off Isla Mujeres Island, Mexico, taken by Amy Foster his significant other, recently appeared in Dave Behrens' Diving Guide to Cozumel, Cancun & The Riviera Maja.

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