Chromodoris sp. (undescribed)
I first heard about this interesting species from friend Scott Johnson, who collected it in the Marshall Islands and determined that it was an undescribed Chromodoris (see page 146 of Nudibranch Behavior for the pink form. As seen in Pirjo's photo above and also by Atsushi Ono's book on page 158 (which Pirjo pointed out to us), it can also be white.
In Pirjo’s photo above the animal is feeding on a pale blue sponge, while Johnson recorded it on a pink sponge. In any event the texture of the slug’s mantle is what is so striking. The randomly distributed tubercles on the dorsum, match the ridges and siphons off the sponge, as do the spicules seen in this critter.
Chromodorids, like many other species of cryptobranch dorids are sponges eaters, but few, if any, are so cryptic while on their prey. In fact, most chromodorids are flamboyantly colored, employing aposematic coloration, warning potential predators of their caustic chemical defense system. This new species seems to rely on protective resemblance instead of a chemical arsenal.
Behrens, D.W. 2005. Nudibranch Behavior. New World Publications. 176 pp.
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..."
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Well, it is very evident from this week's BOW image that Pirjo has progressed to the level of excellent sea slug photographer in addition to her already elevated status as expert spotter! What more can be said!
San Diego, Calif
Ali Hermosillo and Dave Behrens
Pacific Coast Nudibranchs and Nudibranch Behavior
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