Life Ecologycal of Flabellina iodinea
This nudibranch displays a stunning set of colors: the body is purple, the cerata are orange and the rhinophores are scarlet. The neon orange appendages on the back of Flabellina iodinea are the cerata which extract oxygen from the sea water they live in. The cerata are also extensions of the digestive system, and are used to store the stinging cells of the anemones and fan-like hydroids they eat. The red rhinophores are sensory structures used for detecting the presence of possible mates and prey. The purple, red, and orange colors are derived from a single carotenoid pigment, astaxanthin. The pigment appears in three modified states, leading to the three distinct colors
Spanish shawls are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female sex organs. However, self-fertilisation very rarely occurs. When threatened by other predators, they can gracefully move away by flexing their body strongly and pushing off from the substrate and into midwater.
This species is native to the west coast of North America and further south. It has been reported as far north as British Columbia, Canada, and as far south as Punta Asunción, Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition it is found in the Gulf of California and the Galapagos Islands.
Species: Flabellina iodinea
- H. Wägele and R. C. Willan. "Phylogeny of the Nudibranchia". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 1 (1): 83–181