Project Description

This giant nudibranch (Dendronotus iris) was found moving over shell litter in the bay of Whytecliff Park, near Vancouver.  This nudibranch is sometimes called a Spanish dancer because it can swim gracefully in the water column.  There is a great variance in colour between individuals of this species.  Many can be found lighter (as in this photo), with some almost white, and others still different shades of orange.  The giant nudibranch is always on the hunt for tube-dwelling anemones.  When an anemone is sensed in front of a giant nudibranch, the hunter raises up its body and does a cobra strike into the anemone’s tube snipping off a mouthful of tentacles as the anemone retreats into its buried home.  The giant nudibranch can grow to 12 inches (30 cm) long, with a range from northern Alaska to northern Mexico.