Hypselodoris apolegma

with Goby

Photo courtesy of Jerry Allen
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Hypselodoris apolegma

An Odd Couple –Goby and Hypselodoris apolegma

Usually, when we Branchers talk about close encounters of a “fishy” kind, we are talking about nudibranchs out for a stroll, finding themselves crawling across a motionless fish . These observations, whether real or staged seem to be a favorite for UW photographers.

It is rare, however, to see the reciprocal – fish on Nudi. Aside from the amazing association between Gymnodoris nigricolor(Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum), and the shrimp goby, Amblyeleotris steinitzi , the only other example I am aware of is Constantinos’ rare capture of a juvenile lion fish , hiding the undulating mantle folds of a Discodoris boholensis . Here, Jerry has captured another interesting occurrence. What the heck this tiny goby is doing on the dorsum of this Hypselodoris is not known. Is it coincidence? One might speculate that the goby is taking advantage of the aposomatic (warning) coloration of the slug, hoping to avoid attach from a predator. Interestingly, while this chromodorid does exhibit bright aposomatic coloration, suggesting that it is advertising a chromodorids typical chemical defense system, H. apolegma , doesn’t have one. It, like other members of the Hypselodoris bullocki “look-alike” group, does not have acid secreting mantle glands lining the edge of the dorsum.

What then is it doing there? Hum….. curious. I am open for any suggestions.

There is an interesting discussion on Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum where the question of sea slugs being goby hosts is addressed.

This is just one of many associations between sea slugs and other types of animals discussed in NUDIBRANCH BEHAVIOR .

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Feb., 2009

WEBMASTER'S NOTES : A recent posting of a similar sighting by Andy Eastwood on Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum also triggered my memory of Jerry's image. The image was super but the question has always lingered in my mind as to the question of "association" in the picture. Was the goby just "visiting" or is there something more complex in motion here? With the same goby on the same nudibranch my thinking has shifted to the higher plane of attraction whatever that mechanism may be. Of course these are the words of amateur naturalist, but I would hope to be around when this mystery is eventually exlained by a grad student with time on his or hers hands!

San Diego, Calif
Feb., 2009

Jerry on our Okinawa trip of 2002

An electrical engineer by training(BS Purdue U.) and a nature photographer for the last 20 years. His images have been published in many publications, books and scientific journals associated with organizations such as the Cousteau Society, San Diego's Birch Aquarium and the Calif. Academy of Science(CAS).

In 1992, while accompanying a group of CAS marine biologists to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, he documented a new species of nudibranch which was named for him. See Ceratosoma alleni .

He has traveled extensively throughout Asia documenting the marine animals that proliferate this region. He is also an avid nature photographer and is available for field animal behavior documentation assignments.

Jerry took first place in the advanced division for the best of 2004 during the January competition at SDUPS. See his awesome pigmy seahorse image from the Lembeh Straits!

Jerry has come a long way equipment wise since using the Nikon 3, DA-2 Sports Finder, and motor drive in a Tussey Proline Housing pictured above. In fact, the Webmaster was also using the same rig on this trip. The Tussey system was robust and took great pictures! I moved on to HD Video and Jerry eventually moved into the digital age in a big way, purchasing a Nikon D-700! A shot of grey whales taken with the D-700 is presented for your enjoyment. Please don't rip it off for commercial purposes!

Send Jerry mail at uwshooter@aol.com

or visit his website at uwshooter.com

Enjoy Jerry's streaming slide show of blue water diving entitled Into the Blue . Photodex Presenter must be first installed to view the show and don't worry, its harmless!

From left to right, Terry Gosliner, Angle Valdes, Dave Behrens La Jolla, Calif.

Send Dave email at dave@seachallengers.com

© The Slug Site, Michael D. Miller 2009. All Rights Reserved.