Holding out a nudibranch

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 9 January 2017 09:32

I went to catch up with my good friend Oli Froom after way too long. I think last time we went coastal we stumbled across this poor Poor Cod. Anyway, I had heard about this lagoon at Eastbourne, specifically Holywell and had some gen from Evan Jones. Shortly before heading out I said to Oli that if I saw a nudibranch, I'd be happy. Not in anyway thinking I would see one.

So, when I found one under maybe the third rock I turned over (along with Shanny, Five-bearded Rockling & Edible Crab) I was rather stoked. This olive sized critter had the look of animated cloudy-lemonade jelly with a star shaped structure at it's back end and some yellowish structures at the front. These are known as rhinophores and were completely retracted in this individual. I had a stab at identifying it in the field and got to a species that I then realised had the wrong density of tubercles. Anyway I started thinking it might be Acanthodoris pilosa and soon after this a number of people on a marine-life forum, suggested this was likely too. It was about 20 mm long and as predicted, we didn't see another one all day. But we did see a lot more. Such as the other denizens of the above rock.

From star ascidians to sea-squirts. From a huge Dahlia Anemone to the brightest Snakelocks Anemones I have ever seen. We found one Rock Goby too.

And the we found one of the mythical Velvet Drawing Crabs. You literally have to present these crustaceans with a pencil and a subject and they will draw anything for you. This one drew us a Shanny before going on his merry way.

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