Bonanza in Santa Monica Bay

AquaFlite Custom Wetsuits, Dive Skins, and Dive Parkas

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ California Scuba Diving BBS ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Merry on July 01, 2020 at 19:05:31:

Last Saturday, Captain Andy Saxon wanted to meter some sites and generally prowl around Santa Monica Bay. We jumped at the opportunity to join him. Besides being in the delightful company of a true ancient mariner, the Bay is a welcome change of habitat from our local rocky reefs. "Let's dive somewhere new" was the phrase of the day, "because you never know what you're going to find". No truer words were ever spoken.

We hit the JACKPOT with the amphipod, Podocerus cristatus.

The name Podocerus cristatus has been applied to a group of amphipods first described from New Zealand and ranging here from Alaska to Baja California. In 2015, Dr. Jeff Goddard wrote a paper describing how different coloration in these species may mimic the warning coloration of two of our common local nudibranchs. Since nudibranchs have toxic defense mechanisms, this would be an adaptive strategy to deter predators.

There were at least four different color morphs hanging out together on gray moon sponge. The camouflage version greatly outnumbered the colorful forms.

P. cristatus is likely a species complex. We've been put in touch with a graduate student who is working to unravel the mystery of this amphipod’s adaptations.

Three color forms

Cryptic form

California cone snail laying eggs, Californiconus californicus

Amphissa versicolor snail and its eggs. ID thanks to Paul Kanner (aka Sheller).

As far as I can tell this is a moonglow anemone, Anthopleura artemesia

Doto columbiana mating and egg laying is in full swing.

Note the size of the skeleton shrimp relative to the tiny Doto.

Haime's colonial cup coral, Astrangia haimei, formerly Astrangia lajollaensis

Follow Ups:

Optional Link URL:
Optional Link Title:
Optional Image URL:
Post Background Color: White     Black
Post Area Page Width: Normal   Full
You must type in the
scrambled text key to
the right.
This is required to
help prevent spam bots
from flooding this BBS.
Text Key: