Tochuina tetraquetra

Photo courtesy of Terry Strait
Photo taken off San Diego in deep water

Tochuina tetraquetra (Pallas, 1788)

Apparently on a well deserved summer vacation, Tochuina, or Tochni as the indigenous people of Russia’s Kuril Islands to the far north called this slug, has made its presence known in San Diego, at La Jolla Shores.

A contradiction to those who advocate the on slot of Global Warming, the waters off San Diego, have been somewhat cooler this year, making them hospitable for the northern cold temperate, Tochuina. When not referred to as Tochni, some call this slug, the “Orange Peel Slug”, seeing similarities between the skin of the fruit and the slugs orange bumpy notal surface.

In Canada, this species feeds on the tuft like, bright pink, soft coral, Gersemia . However, studies further south (Monterey Bay, California) have documented feeding on the tall branching Red Gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis .

Tochni is one of the few species of opisthobranch that has been documented as human sustanance. In the Kuril’s stories tell that this species is eaten raw or cooked.

It will certainly beinteresting to see if Tochuina stays awhile and maybe even takes up residence this far south, as it apparently has in the Monterey area.

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
August, 2006

Terry Strait at La Jolla Shores

I was certified in 2002 as a Christmas present for my girlfriend and I. After my first open water dive I was hooked. Now 4 years later I have over 450 dives and no plans on slowing down. Most of my diving is right here off the San Diego coast where I have ample opportunity to pursue my passion of searching for and photographing nudibranchs. I didn't even know what a 'branch was until Sean Kearney opened my eyes to the amazing world of the sea slug. Thanks to Sean I have spent way more money than was prudent on dive boats, dive gear and cameras.....all so I can say...."look what I found".

Send Terry email at

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

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