Okenia nakamotoensis

Photo was taken at Watamu, Kenya, Africa
Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee
Copyright 2011

Okenia nakamotoensis (Hamatani, 2001)

I cannot even imagine coming across this gorgeous species on a dive. I think I would be screaming with joy so loud, that you could hear me underwater a mile away. This species was originally assigned to the genus Hopkinsia. Subsequently buddy slugger, Terry Gosliner, combined Hopkinsia with Okenia, due to internal similarities. The external characteristics and coloration speak for themselves. In coloration this species closely resembles O. rosacea MacFarland, 1905, and O. hiroi Baba, 1938, but this species has a lower number of dorsal appendages. The radular teeth are similar to those of O. rosacea but are more slender. It is also very similar in color to O. kondoi but has a much broader body and bulbous dorsal appendages. The radula is also quite different. A similar species pair from northern Australia, O. stellata and O. hallucigenia have recently been described (Rudman, 2004).

This species is known from the Kuroshima Island (Japan), Indonesia, Bohol and Cebu Islands (Philippines), Enewetak and Kwajalein Atolls (Marshall Islands), M'Sapere, Mayotte Island, Indian Ocean and now Kenya, Africa. Wow.


Hamatani, I. 2001. Two new species of Goniodorididae (Opisthobranchia; Nudibranchia) with a new genus from Kuroshima Island, Okinawa, Japan. Venus, 60(3): 151-156.
Gosliner, T. M. 2004. Phylogenetic Systematics of Okenia, Sakishimaia, Hopkinsiella and Hopkinsia (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) with descriptions of new species from the tropical Indo-Pacific. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 55: 125-161.
Rudman, W.B. 2004. Further species of the opisthobranch genus Okenia (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) from the Indo-West Pacific. Zootaxa, 695: 1-70.

Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
March 2011

Lorenzo de Ponti, Christiane Waldrich, Kevin Lee and Angelo de Faveri
Blue Fin Diving, Watamu, Kenya, Africa

Kevin has just published an excellent article online based on his trip to Africa! See Scott Gietler's Underwater Photography Guide ! The following are excerpts from that article that will definitely wet your appetite to read the whole story as told by Kevin!

"...Years ago, I trekked to the top of Mt. Kenya, the second highest summit on the African continent, at 17,000 feet and enjoyed the adventure more than climbing, days later, to the higher summit of Kilimanjaro. Little did I imagine, then, that Africa would beckon me back and I would return to experience the wonders of the ocean, underwater photography & scuba diving off Kenya’s scenic eastern coast. ..."

"...Beautiful Reefs and Rare Nudi's Corals, soft and hard, are plentiful and varied, though they are relatively small and do not grow to the massive sizes found in other Indo-Pacific regions like Indonesia and the Philippines. Yet, the waters teem with many fish species, some of which were new to me. Scorpion and Stonefish, the size of basketballs, came by the dozen. They are so well camouflaged, I nearly set my hand on a nasty looking one. Afterward, I made sure to maintain a healthy distance, by donning a glove and employing my reef stick. Schools of jacks, barracuda, frogfish, angels, groupers, and ever pesky wrasses vied for our attention. Of course, the main object of our photographic desires was opisthobranchs and we found plenty of them. Lorenzo and Angelo are major sluggers themselves, as is Christiane Waldrich (co-owner of Villa Markisa Dive Resort in Bali) who joined, all the way from Indonesia, to participate in our treasure hunt. Our dive guide, James, also has a sharp eye for slugs and together our group found some rare nudies that are some of the most strikingly stupendous, I’ve seen anywhere..."

Send Kevin email at diverkevin@gmail.com

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

Send Dave email at dave@seachallengers.com

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