Thursday, March 20, 2008

A New Nudibranch For Me!

I had a friend from Hawaii come out yesterday for work, so as soon as we were both done working we decided to go do a night dive. Night dives are my absolute favorites, you see things then that you never see during the day. We all know how many dives I've logged in at the Grotto, but last night was the very first time I've seen this nudibranch. He was crawling on a rock in about 28' of water very close to the rope rock. I couldn't tell with my naked eye exactly what he looked like, but I know he was different from anything I'd ever seen before, so I just started shooting. I really love the age of digital cameras, I never could get the quality or amount of shots I get now with an old film camera.
In order to get just the right shot, you have to be patient, keep waiting for the nudibranch to get positioned just right, wait for the swells to calm down and stop blowing you back and forth in the water, and then get your camera to lock in on the nudibranch in just the right spot. I have submitted this guy to already this morning and I'm just waiting for Erwin Kodiat to identify him for me. Needless to say, this one little nudibranch made my whole dive! I spent a good 15 minutes with him just shooting him over and over, hoping that at least a few of the pictures would turn out great. I've got some other pretty cool shots from last nights dive, but those are going to have to wait for the next post.
Thanks to the books sent to me by Rudie Kuiter - Nudibranchs of the World, and Neville Coleman - Nudibranchs Encyclopedia, recently I was able to identify this guy. I believe this is a Bornella anguilla. According to the description in Nudibranchs of the World, it has an elongated body, dorsum with pairs of leaf-like cerata followed by singles, feathery gills at first; head with distinct black eye-spot and lots of finger-like processes at front, mosaic pattern of dark lines, filled with white, black yellow or orange. Yup, I'd say this guy matches the description and certainly looks similar to the ones in the books. I love having those books for reference tools, and of course it's always fun to flip through them and see my own pictures in there.