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Posted by jlyle on April 29, 2006 at 18:09:12:

In Reply to: Rainbow Nudi Bank posted by Max Bottomtime on April 29, 2006 at 15:50:42:

We went to Old Marineland this morning! Maxbottomtime (aka Phil) had told us that he had found large numbers of Dendrodorus iris nudibranchs there recently.

Rev (aka ChrisM) joined us on the Popeye maru for a quick run around Palos Verdes Point. Phil said he was diving from shore with his entourage and would set a float to mark the spot for us.

When we arrived, we spotted Phil on the surface. He found the nudibranchs deeper than before and didn't have enough line on his float. We handed him an additional float to tie to the site.

Quickly suiting up, Chris and I dropped in the water and swam over to the marker to descend onto a sandy bottom, punctuated with large boulders. The bottom was littered with tube-dwelling anemones (Pachycerianthus fimbriatus), the favorite food of D. iris. Phil said to look for egg masses on the anemones and then look for the branchs.

As advertised, there were lots of quite large (4-5 inch-long) D. iris crawling on the bottom and on the tube-dwelling anemones!

Dendronotus iris

Dendronotus iris climbing an anemone

Dendronotus isis with its head in an anemone eating the tentacles

Dendronotus iris egg mass, laid on the food source.

After taking a bunch of pictures of D. iris, I worked my way back over the sand towards the boat. I came across a bed of sea pens (Stylatula elongata) and started finding eggs masses that looked like those of D. iris, but no tube-dwelling anemones! Looking closely at one of these eggs masses, I saw a critter half buried in the silt and carefully dug it out of the sand. A new nudibranch!

Tritonia diomedea!

There were also lots of small flatfish actively swimming around. I think this is a speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus)

There were lot of other nudibranchs out, Spanish shawls, Tritona festivas, Doriopsilla albopunctata, Cuthona divae...etc. Phil said he counted eighteen species on one dive in this location.

Doris montereyensis (one of many confusing yellow nudibranchs.) White sea urchin (Lytechinus anamesus). Red gorgonium (Lophogorgia chilensis).

This must be the time of year for many critters to breed. These snails were cruising along, looking for a motel room.

Although common, I couldn't help but take a picture of a beautiful Hermissenda crassicornis.

And, finally, a very pretty Chestnut Cowrie (Cypraea spadicea) showing its mantle

Oh, yes...water temperature was a chilly 52 degrees.

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