A real sap

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Merry on May 23, 2021 at 21:40:28:

Yesterday under the dock, I had one of those "Woo-hoo" moments. At the time, I didn't recognize it as any opisthobranch that we're familiar with and neither did Phil. Dave Behrens kindly ID'd it as Stiliger fuscovittatus, the brown-streaked sapsucker. This is my first saccoglossid and Phil was just a tiny bit green.

In extremely low vis, it was barely visible on its food source, the filamentous red algae, Polysiphonia. The vast majority of saccoglossans feed on marine algae (hence the name "sap sucker"). Because they need to puncture the algal cell wall in order to suck out the contents, they have a different radular arrangement than that of nudibranchs. Their single row of radulae are connected in a chain-like fashion, revolving into use, while worn radular teeth are discarded into a sack in the alimentary canal. (Taken from Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs, 2005, D. Behrens and A. Hermosillo).

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