Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Who’s Eating Who?

Giant Nudibranch (Dendronotus iris) on the prowl for tube-dwelling anemones. This species of nudibranch has great variation in colour. © Jackie Hildering

Giant Nudibranch on the prowl for Tube-Dwelling Anemones. This species of nudibranch has great variation in colour. See below. ©Jackie Hildering

This “case” features the Giant Nudibranch (Dendronotus iris) and the Tube-Dwelling Anemone (Pachycerianthus fimbriatus).d

The Giant Nudibranch’s favourite snack is this anemone species. 

Giant nudibranch launching into a tube-dwelling anemone. © Jackie Hildering

Giant Nudibranch launching into a Tube-Dwelling Anemone. © Jackie Hildering

The Tube-Dwelling Anemone is therefore adapted to also withdraw into a tube to get away from the predator sea slug.

And the battle is on! The Giant Nudibranch patrols the sandy ocean plains “looking” for the Tube-Dwelling Anemone. When it finds one, it rears up and pounces, mouth parts extended in the hopes of grabbing onto the anemone. When the anemone senses the nudibranch’s attack, it withdraws into its tube.

Wait till you see what happens to the Giant Nudibranch!

See below for a short clip of such an attack.

[Correction from previous version of this blog: Dendonotids are not known to utilize the stinging cells (nematocysts) of their prey. From the Sea Slug ForumThere has been some confusion in the literature concerning the presence of branches of the gut in the ‘gills’ or ‘cerata’ of species of Dendronotus. Firstly there is no evidence to suggest that any species of Dendronotus has cnidosacs at the tip of its dorsal processes in which to store nematocysts. In fact there is no evidence that they store nematocysts from their prey anemones in any part of their body.“]


But that’s not all, this nudibranch species also swims. By lifting off, it may land somewhere with better chances for feeding and mating. 

See video below. 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As is also generally the way with sea slugs, they also lay their eggs on their prey.

 

And oh the diversity in colour among Giant Nudibranchs.

 

2 Responses to “Who’s Eating Who?”

    • jackiehildering

      I love that I can share our underwater world with someone whose art I so admire; who is able to create such beauty from the inspiration around her.

      Reply

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