Eubranchus sp.1 with egg case

Eubranchus sp.1. Note the amphora-shaped thick cerata

Eubranchus sp.1

Eubranchus sp.1

Tergipes sp.2. Note the thinner cerata, and mottled appearance.

Tergipes sp.2. Big congregation.

Tergipes sp.2. The white tips on the cerata has earned it the nickname "talon" nudibranch

Tergipes sp.2

Tergipes sp.2. With egg case on the hydroid.

Tergipes sp.1. Similar as sp.1, but pale. Note the zig-zag line along the back, connecting the cerata

Tergipes sp.1

Tergipes sp.1.

Cuthona sp.2. All photos Guido Zsilavecz
The complex of nudibranchs found on kelp fronds
The research of Jessica Toms on nudibranchs has resulted in SURG members, and nudibranch-enthusiast Carel v.d. Colff to keep a look out for new and different species. Carel, on one of his Long Beach dives, spotted a small red one, on a kelp frond, between zigzag hydroids (Obelia geniculata) (an invasive species) laying eggs. Jessica then spotted some at A-Frame, and this caused us all to start looking with much more enthusiasm at kelp. We started seeing slightly different one - ones with fat cerata, ones with thing ones, ones in white, and so on. Identification was not easy, as they are quite similar. While we wait for Jessica's research to give us more details, the following characteristics seem to hold true most of the time:
  • Eubranchus sp.1: Thick cerata, amphora-shaped. Eye spots just visible at base of rhinophores, which are shorter than those of Tergipes sp.2, and generally in orange.
  • Tergipes sp.2: Thin cerata with white tips. White saddle betwen rhinophores, which are slender and without orange.
  • Tergipes sp.1: Similar in shape as Tergipes sp.2, but pale in colour.
  • Cuthona sp.2: Identification very uncertain, but distinguished by short, thick rounded cerata. Could be misidentification.


For more details on this species, see "Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay" "Coastal Fishes of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay" "A field guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula" available directly from SURG or better dive and book stores in Cape Town.
References:
Many thanks to Dr. Terrence Gosliner for identifications.
Nudibranchs of Southern Africa - a guide to the opisthobranch molluscs of southern Africa, T. Gosliner, 1987
Two Oceans, A guide to the marine life of Southern Africa, GM Branch, CL Griffiths, ML Branch and LE Beckley, revised edition 2010
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