The webmaster and I were diving in Vallarta back in January 2006. I was done with my thesis survey and had by then found about 130 different species of nudibranchs in the Bay. Those days with Mike here, I increased that list by three more, one of them this beautiful Polycera. My current count is of about 145.
We had gone to Mismaloya, a place I really like. During the work of my thesis, my species count for this site topped 100 and my individual one dive species found all time record of 30 happened there. That particular day in January, we stumbled upon three specimens of Polycera kaiserae , egg masses and everything . The minute I saw it, I knew it was an undescribed species. Mike was the first person to photograph it. More than a year went by until I saw it again (mid 2007) and once more at Islas Tres Marias (the federal prison). Now Mike and I are the only two ones who have photographed it... what an honor!
I have been diving Mismaloya these past days and got flashbacks of my hours and hours of survey there. I was just thinking how cool it would be to find Polycera kaiserae again, and unbelievable, I saw it... two days in a row!!
The color of the body varies from a light to a dark pink. It is sprinkled with numerous opaque white spots on the dorsum, cephalic region, rhinophoral sheats and gill plumes. These spots give them a frosted appearance. The most distinctive external feature of this species is the coloration scheme on gill plumes, extra branchial processes, foot, rhinophores, pedal corners, rim of rhinophoral sheath and velar processes. Proximally, all these processes are the tip. Internally, the most notorious character of these species is the armed penis .
Angel and I named this gorgeous critter after our dearest friend, well known malacologist, Kirstie Kaiser , who is just as pretty as her namesake.
The paper is available for downloading in *.pdf format.
A New Polycera (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca) from Bahia de Banderas, Mexico. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Volume 58, No. 23, pp. 477-484, 3 figs.
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