The cave was huge, one of the largest I had ever seen on the Kona Coast. It was also thick with sponge, the ceiling inches deep in places… Perfect nudibranch habitat.
Pete found this group, a cluster of white margin nudibranch having a… uh… party? The results of the “party” can be seen in the center of the photo, small white, spiral egg masses.
The photo is actually upside down, the party was taking place on the ceiling.
Several white-margin nudibranch (Glossodoris rufomarginata) apparently mating and laying eggs
It is not red.
Apparent the species can range in color from a pale gold, to a dark, almost black, red. I have seen this species a couple times now. The previous specimens I had found were the characteristic red, seeing this gold nudi I thought I had found something new to me.
But it is a red dendrodoris. This is a well known, but undescribed species that is found on island reefs. This fellow was in a cave at Horseshoe, depth about 35ft.
An undescribed species of Dendrodoris, depth 35ft on the Kohala Coast
Yes, I occasionally publish porn… Nudibranch porn.
Search engines must have fun with nudis. Just consider the website Nudi Pixel. A great website, I often use the photos to check my identification of a species. How many surfers hit upon the site looking for something totally different?
A pair of varicose phyllidia (Phyllidia varicosa) at 35ft depth, Hoover’s Tower, most likely mating
Two dives, almost two hours underwater, much of that time spent combing the reef face and cave walls for small invertebrates to photograph. I was well into my second dive of the day, a nice cave called Henry’s, where I had now spent over forty minutes carefully searching the interior and entrance areas of the lava tube. My real target is nudibranchs, but so far the day’s diving had revealed only two, both species I had found and photographed many times before.
A splash of color at the base of a large antler coral got my attention, it was shaped just right, but I was not in a position to see it clearly. Getting closer it looked better, about the right size with white raised features. It was only after circling to the other side of the coral and getting in close that I saw that this was probably not a nudi. It took a moment to realize that this was probably a dark purple sponge with bright white osculum. Even in the photo you have to look close to realize what it is.
Except in a few obvious cases, I make no real effort to properly identify sponges. This is a task that takes an expert, a collected specimen and a proper lab to do. I did check briefly through the book to see if there was a clear match, but as I expected, this sponge will remain identified simply as… a sponge.
A colorful sponge mimics a nudibranch