Okenia felis

Photo was taken at Point Lobos, Carmel, California
Photo courtesy of Robert Lee
Copyright 2010

Okenia felis Gosliner 2010

I am amazed that in a place as well studied and dived as California, folks are still discovering new species. This weeks critter is one of two described this month by Terry Gosliner. Known only from Point Lobos, Monterey County, California, this new Okenia is translucent white with white flecks covering the body. The rhinophores are distinctive in that the ends are void of lamellae. The gill is made up of three branches. Reaching only about 7-8 mm in length, this deep occurring species (the type specimens were collected at 37-40 meters deep) feeds on a brown ctenostomatous {bryozoans}.

Our list of Okenia's in this area is growing steadily, and I am aware of two more, very deepwater, species in the Santa Maria Basin.

Kudos are in order for the collecting team consisting of Robert and Allison Lee, John Heimann, and Clinton Bauder that made this discovery possible!

For those of you that would like a PDF of this description, please click here ! Sadly, this description was included in the final issue of the Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, a 157 year run.

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Oct., 2010

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