As Sky kicked past me he stirred up a cloud of silt in the cave. A moment later he realized I was there and was taking a photo. He apologized with a sheepish shrug, understanding the dirty look I was giving him. The cave wall was host to a dozen or more nudibranch and I was busy with the camera. There were gold lace nudis everywhere I looked, a couple white margined nudibranch added for variety.
As the silt settled I noted a larger object kicked up in the cloud. Closer inspection revealed an odd looking nudibranch floating down and settling on the algae covered rock. This was a new species to me! I took more than a dozen photos as the little slug crawled along. On consulting the book I was unable to locate a good match for this species, always a surprise, Hoover covers all of the common species.
It took a little more work to finally properly ID the nudi. It is a transparent nudibranch (Plocamopherus maculatus). I found it listed on Keoiki Stenders site, but the photos were not convicing. Once I had a species name I found it on Sea Slugs of Hawaii and in the website additions to Hoover’s book, where the photos are much closer to the specimen I found.
Back on the surface I told Sky about the nudi, letting him know that he was somewhat redeemed in revealing an interesting find, despite the cloud of silt.
A transparent nudibranch (Plocamopherus maculatus) in a cave at Anaemoʻomalu Bay
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