Cumanotus sp., (undecribed species)
This critter was first discovered by Jim Lance and Dave Mulliner in the back reaches of Mission Bay, San Diego. I even had a photo in the first edition of Pacific Coast Nudibranchs (Blue Cover) calling it the burrowing aeolid, as we didnít even know what genus it belonged to in the late 1970ís. Many years have elapsed since that first sighting of three specimens. A year or so ago it showed up in Victoria, British Columbia. Again, very rare.
In the last week I seem to have gotten an e-mail from every diver in San Diego asking if this weird beast they had just seen was a variation of Week 73 Cuthona divae . Well it isnít. Seen in Terryís photo above, it is Cumanotus sp. (species 245) in Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs .
Specimens are everywhere and are being reported as large, up to 40 mm in length. The main differences are: 1) The rhinophores are not smooth as in Cuthona, but weakly covered with low bumps, and more importantly are fused at the base, and 2) the ceratal cores are not a straight tube as in C. divae, but are broken, twisted and branched. Otherwise, externally really close. Cumanotus sp . also exhibits burrowing behavior which again sets it apart from Cuthona divae.
In silhouette this species looks a lot like one of the aeolids featured on the new Sea Challengers, nudibranch shirt (See ordering information below). You have gotta have one is youíre a real Brancher!
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 600 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".
Am presently using an Olympus 8080wz in an Ikelite housing. Strobe is an Ikelite DS125 with eTTL sync to the camera.
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