Noumeaella rubrofasciata

Image courtesy of Phil Garner
Palos Verdes, Calif

Noumeaella rubrofasciata Gosliner, 1991

As it name implies, this is the Red-Headed Aeolid. Oh, darn - did I just use one of those nonsensical common names? Shame on me.

It is truly a great photo as it shows all the key characters of this eastern Pacific species - the red-orange mark on the head, the red-orange cerata with amall cnidosac at their tips and the delicately papilate rhinophores having the papilations on the posterior surface.

We don't see this species very often, but it does range from Catalina Island, offshore California and Rancho Palos Verdes, onshore, south through Baja California to Costa Rica and Panama.

Like its tropical sister species, it feds on hydroids.

Great find Phil!

Dave Behrens
Sammamish, WA 98074
Apr., 2015
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Phil on the hunt!
After free diving for a year I was scuba certified in 1989. Most of my dives have been on the reefs and wrecks around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In 2012 I published my first book, Diving the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a guide to 25 sites from Redondo Beach to San Pedro. Most weekends I can be found diving with my fiance Merry Passage and friend Kevin Lee in search of uncommon nudibranchs, the smaller the better. My favorite dive destinations have been Anilao and Vancouver Island for the varied marine life. Another dive site I frequent is the Morro Bay T-Pier. When conditions are favorable we have been able to identify close to two dozen species on a dive there.

We've been finding several species of nearly microscopic nudibranchs on bryozoan and hydroids in the kelp canopy for the past several months. Last year we thought we found an undescribed nudi but it turned out to be a newly settled Hermissenda. When I found Noumeaella rubrofasciata on a reef we hadn't dived before I thought it was a color variation of Hermissenda crassicornis. It wasn't until I was uploading my photos that my fiancee Merry Passage pointed out that I found something new. Had I realized that underwater I would have handed the little guy to Merry or Kevin Lee for a better image.

Merry, Kevin and I try to dive offshore reefs around Palos Verdes every weekend.

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

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