Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus

Photo courtesy of Francis and Pirjo Pellet
Anilao pier, Batangas, Philippines
Feb. 2005

Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus, Miller & Willan, 1986

This story begins many years ago in the Anilao area of Batangas when Terry Gosliner brought a strange arminid back from a night dive. I took tub shots of it but otherwise didn't think too much about it until John Greenamyer sent me a video clip of the same guy taken in the PNG region earlier this year. A BOW project immediately came to mind, but I was never able to locate the one or two images taken back that night many years ago. So the prospective BOW was consigned to the file of unfinished projects (my largest)!.

Let's fast forward to July of this year when I attended the French Sea Slug Course in Cerbere, France and had the good fortune to meet Francis and Pirjo Pellet. I noticed right off the mark that they worked as a team in the water, Pirjo being the spotter and Francis the photographer. That may have changed somewhat now that Pirjo now has her own underwater camera but we're getting off subject. In discussing underwater photography with Francis, he indicated that he had images of a recent Philippines trip on his laptop that he would be glad to show me. Lo and behold, what image should catch my eye? None other than several stunning shots of Dermatobranchus pulcherrimus in situ and much more informative of the animal's behavior than my tub shots on a rock!

D. pulcherrimus seems to be night traveler as I have never seen it out during the day during my many years of diving in the Anilao area. It appears to forage for its food by burrowing into the sand. This behavior is also seen in the video clip by John Greenamyer that is running concurrently this week.

Bill Rudman speculates that

...It is possible that the very wide foot found in D. pulcherrimus is an adaptation to living in soft bottom habitats..."

That's a wrap on this week's BOW, and I want to thank Francis and Pirjo Pellet once again for making their images available to the Slug Site.

San Diego, Calif
Nov. 2005

Francis and Pirjo Pellet in laboratory, Cerbere, July, 2005

Francis and Pirjo Pellet live in Les Vans in the Rhone Valley, France. I met Francis and Pirjo at the July, 2005 Opisthobranch Course held at Cerbere, France hosted by Robert Oms.

I believe this was their third time in attending the course so that gives you an idea how enthusiastic they are about branching! They are well traveled and enjoy diving as a team to find and photograph sea slugs!

Am looking forward to seeing more of their images as they certainly excel in the art of taking branch photographs!

To quote Francis:

"...I was born in Paris 1954. Since 1954 I have my practice as a doctor in the South of France.I started diving at the age of 15 years and I am instructor since 2004. I am interested in sea slugs since 5 years and taking pictures with Nikon Coolpix 5000 in Subal housing and 2 Inon strobes since 3 years. I am diving in France and Spain (Mediterranean Sea) and every holiday in South East Asia to discover its fabulous biodiversity.

My wife Pirjo was born in Finland and in everyday life we work as a team as we do underwater. She is Padi Dive Master and has studied marine biology with the french diving school. She is just starting taking underwater pictures with her olympus UZ 770 with Inon strobe. Our ambition is to take good pictures but above all, we want to bring a little bit happiness if possible to those who share our passion..."

Send Francis and Pirjo mail at

What more can be said!

San Diego, Calif

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