Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology/Natural History: This uncommon but striking species apparently preys on ascidians and perhaps on sponges. Little is known about this species. Some members of this family can repel predators with extremely strong acid secretions from glands in the dorsum.

LaForge and Page studied B. californica development. The species lays its eggs in a coiled ribbon attached to the substrate along one edge. The egg ribbon is white, about 1 cm wide, and 1 mm thick. The egg capsules in the ribbon are oval, around 1.6 or 1.7 mm wide, and contain 1-2 eggs each. At 11-12 C the eggs hatched as veliger larvae in 19 days. Its developmental pattern resembles that of nudibranchs more closely than does that of other pleurobranchoideans which have been studied. They also discovered that the snail-like shell which the larva has only becomes bilaterally symmetrical late in development. Some of the events that occurred when the larva settled and metamorphosed into the adult form included a rapid expansion of the mantle over the shell so that the shell became internal. They also lost the large larval velar lobes and began growing the rhinophore and oral veil. The larva also appeared to have an ospradium (chemosensory organ), though the adult does not.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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This is one of only two species from Order Notaspidea found in this area. Although it looks like a nudibranch, it does have a thin, white internal shell (easier to feel than to see) which extends at least 1/2 the length of its body. It has lateral sheetlike extensions of its body (mantle) like a sheetlike flap above the foot, and a single (prominent) gill on the right side of the body between the mantle margin and the foot (photo). The rhinophores are rolled and emerge from under the flap in front (photo). The color is translucent white, cream, or orange with opaque white spots, and often a thin white line around the border of the dorsum. Length up to 8.5 cm, but usually 2.5 mm or less.
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Distribution

Geographical Range: Point Craven, Alaska to Coronados Island, Baja California

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Physical Description

Type Information

Lectotype for Pleurobranchus californicus denticulatus Mac Farland, 1966
Catalog Number: USNM 575223
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Collector(s): G. Macgintie
Year Collected: 1931
Locality: Monterey Bay, Point Pinos, Great Tide Pool, California, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Lectotype: Mem. Cal. Acad. Sci. 6: 84.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Pleurobranchus californicus Dall, 1900
Catalog Number: USNM 107893
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Dry
Collector(s): F. Oldroyd
Locality: San Pedro, California, United States, North Pacific Ocean
Depth (m): 110 to 110
  • Holotype: Nautilus. 14(8): 92.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: No other nudibranch-like animal in this area is white, with a lateral sheetlike extension above the foot and only one gill on the right side. Several dorid nudibranchs such as Archidoris odhneri look superficially similar but they have no lateral flap and their gills are a circle on the dorsum. Tylodina fungina is another Notaspidean, found in southern CA, but it is bright yellow.
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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 3 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 7.05 - 96
  Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 10.186
  Nitrate (umol/L): 6.387 - 7.622
  Salinity (PPS): 31.942 - 32.060
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.520 - 6.534
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.922 - 0.963
  Silicate (umol/l): 12.227 - 14.539

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 7.05 - 96

Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 10.186

Nitrate (umol/L): 6.387 - 7.622

Salinity (PPS): 31.942 - 32.060

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.520 - 6.534

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.922 - 0.963

Silicate (umol/l): 12.227 - 14.539
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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