Image courtesy of Merry Passage and Phil Garner
Photo by Merry Passage
. Point Vicente, Palos Verdes,, Palos Verdes, CA

Image courtesy of Merry Passage

Tenellia flavovulta (MacFarland, 1966)

“ceratal cores” rather than ‘rhinophoral cores’?

Well here is another of those teeny, tiny (or as Jim Anderson always says - "Wee") aeolids previously assigned to the genus Cuthona. Named "flavovulta" for its yellow head, this little bugger rarely reaches even 10mm in length. The ceratal cores are dark green to brown and their surface is covered with white spots. It differs from Tenellia fulgens who lacks yellow on the head and has yellow bands at the tips of the cerata. Sympatric, Tenellia lagunae is similar to T. fulgens but its rhinophores are orange.

Although normally an intertidal find, Merry's sighting here extends the southern-most range of this species to Palos Verdes, California, where it lives deep. This is not uncommon as specimens observed at the southern end of their geographic ranges are often deeper where waters there are of similar temperatures to their northern haunts. Merry found it at 63ft. on Little Reef, a current-swept site near Point Vicente, Palos Verdes, CA. This minuscule subject appeared as no more than a dot clinging tentatively onto Bugula neritina.

Great find Merry.

Dave Behrens
Sammamish, WA 98074
Jan., 2017
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Merry Passage worked as a genetics research scientist at Harbor UCLA for three decades. After retiring she has used her degrees from Arizona State University and laboratory experience as an aid to scuba diving. She spends countless hours researching many of the animals we find underwater. Her home office is filled with binders and identification books from algae to whales.

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

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