Cerberilla pungoarena

Photo courtesy of Tracy Clark
Photo taken at La Jolla Shores, San Diego, California

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.

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Feb., 2006

Tracy Clark at La Jolla Shores

Tracy Clark was certified in 1986, a month after being certified he rented a underwatercamera in Hawaii and was hooked. Tracy is a Public Works Lead Worker . He dives mostly San Diego areas, plus a few trips to Hawaii. He has placed in the PCUPC photo contest, and also the San Diego Unions Nature and Eye photo contest. He has had photos published in the Pacific Diver magazine and also Espacio Profundo. Tracy was also SDUPS Photographer of the Year in 1999.

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.

Send Tracy mail at tclark2399@sbcglobal.net

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
March 2005

Ali Hermosillo and Dave Behrens

Author: Pacific Coast Nudibranchs and Nudibranch Behavior
Co-Author Coral Reef Animals of the Indo Pacific
Proprietor of Sea Challengers Natural History Books

Send Dave mail at dave@seachallengers.com

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