Cerberilla pungoarena Collier and Farmer 1964
It is not uncommon for species of nudibranchs to seemingly come and go. Due to their reproductive strategies, one should expect wide fluctuations in population size. Such is the case with the aeolid, Cerberilla pungoarena. For years after its description the species was never seen, prompting some to wonder about its validity as a species. In recent years it has become a common member of California’s sand bottom habitat from San Diego to the Channel Islands.
In the new edition of Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs , Ali and I show all three species found between Oregon and Mexico. Shown here Cerberilla pungoarena has a white body with white tipped cerata. To the north, Cerberilla mosslandica has a white body encrusted with reddish-brown specks (see species 262, page 116 of Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs).
To the south, we have added a new species of Cerberilla, the description by Angel Valdes and Alicia Hermosillo is soon to be published. I cannot divulge its name until then. The body of this species is pink and has a yellow line along the edge of the foot. The cerata have red tips with a yellow outline (see species 264, page 116).
All Cerberilla burrow in soft sediments for cnidarian (sea anemone) prey. Their long oral tentacles are used to locate potential food, and the broad head-shield provides the ability to burrow easily.
Picture was taken with a Nikon D-70, Sea & Sea housing, two YS-90 strobes.
You will find Tracy at La Jolla Shores almost every weekend.
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Ali Hermosillo and Dave Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs and Nudibranch Behavior
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