Limacia clavigera (Muller, 1776)
This species has a disjunct geographic range being found from Atlantic coast of Europe, including the British Isles, and from Norway to the Mediterranean, and also the Cape Province of South Africa.
At first glance, California Branchers would say it looks a lot like our Limacia cockerelli , previously Laila cockerelli , found from Vancouver Island to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California. Like L. cockerelli , it has long papillations on the dorsum, which are tipped with orange. There is also a series of low tubercles down the centerline which are tipped in orange also. Marina's specimen from France has bright yellow rather than orange on these features. Externally the main difference is that L. clavigera has fewer long dorsal papillations. If you are not careful, you might, at first, ID them as an aeolid.
L. clavigera grows to about 20mm, and feeds on the encrusting bryozoans, Electra pilosa .
Born 1946. Married to Lesley Nov 1970 - she's my dive buddy when in warm water; she learned to dive in 1991.
2 daughters Jane (34) and Kate (32) - both divers although Jane no longer dives.
Profession: Architect with my own practice since 1982. CAD based since 1986.
Diving: started in the Seychelles in 1987 and was introduced to nudibranchs on my 3rd dive by one of the divemasters who was 'collecting' images to id the local fauna. On our return to Scotland I joined a local branch of the Scottish Sub Aqua Club (local amateur dive organisation founded in 1953) and learned to dive properly. Bought my first camera, Nik 5, in 1988 to show Lesley the fantastically colourful life in Scottish water; probably took my first Scottish Nudibranch image in early 1988.
Photography: Started with the Nik 5 then progressed to Nik 90SX in a Subal housing but since 2003 have been digital, now using a Fuji F810 in Ike housing with Inon Strobes, CU and WA lenses. Scottish Nudibranchs: I've found nudibranchs interesting since I first started diving and they are great photo subjects; they don't generally move about much and are colourful. The web site came about because I 'found' the internet in 1998 and set about learning HTML with the view to creating a site for my practice (a project I've still to complete!) and because I had a lot of images of local nudibranchs based my first efforts around them - thus Scottish Nudibranchs was born. And it has kind of grown. I am now seen as a bit of a nutcase by my dive buddies as I can easily spend 40 minutes poring over a little group of hydroids trying to find another wee Doto or other, I'm sure it's a sign of age thing. But I am captivated by their world and the community that researches them. I have corresponded world wide with all kinds of incredibly helpful people, from university and research specialists to amateurs like myself and maybe some day will actually get to meet some of these wonderfull people. The web is a goldmine of information and contacts and it never ceases to amaze and entertain me. Your site was one of the first I visited after entering 'nudibranch' into a search engine and I've taken ideas, code and layout stuff from wherever I find it, so thanks for all the unacknowledged help you have been and for your sterling efforts with the Slug Site over the years.
Limacia clavigera, as I said before, is a personal favourite and although common is one of our prettiest animals.
WEBMASTER'S NOTES: I don't know about you folks, but Jim's recount of his diving in the frigid waters off Scotland gives me the shivers. But at the same time I am going to find all my cold water gear in preparation for going out again off San Diego! Our nineteen year old daughter "certified" in the warm and tranquil waters of Bali a year ago last September but that certainly can't compare to certifying in Scotland! I told her she would have to recertify back in San Diego before I would have full confidence in her ability to dive California waters!
I enjoy warm water diving for the most part now but still consider diving the Channel Islands off California with fellow SDUPS club members to be a milestone in my diving career. The Channel Islands on any given day can be one of the greatest dive spots in the world! Concluding a dive by slowly ascending in the kelp forest to be greeted by the solar light show at the surface is akin to a religious experience, believe me!
As evidenced by Jim's commentary, it is becoming increasingly evident that branch enthusiasts the world over are certainly a "can do" lot. Whatever it takes to get the picture, they will do! At the same time they are willing to share techniques and information to help other branchers in this new world of underwater digital photography.
My hat is off to Jim for sharing with us this week!
Ali Hermosillo and Dave Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs
Send Dave mail at firstname.lastname@example.org