Photo courtesy Gary McDonald
In March of 2009, diving at about 40 m, BAUE divers Rob and Allison Lee found a nudibranch they were unable to key out after consulting numerous guides. After obtaining a collection permit, they sent a specimen to Terry Gosliner, nudibranch expert at California Academy of Sciences.
Okenia felis is about the size of a Rice Krispy (7-8 mm), and superficially resembles a less robust, white version of Okenia rosacea, often seen locally. However, both DNA and morphological analysis proved that it was a previously undescribed species. This new species appears to be abundant at Point Lobos on brown bryozoan.
The new name of Okenia felis was inspired by the collecting team of Ron and Allison Lee, John Heimann, and Clinton Bauder, collectively known as “Team Kitty.”
Flabbelina goddardi laying egg mass
Photo courtesy Jeff GoddardA second species, genus Flabellina , was discovered in the rocky intertidal area of Carpenteria Sate Park, CA.This new species, named Flabbelina goddardi, measures about 15 mm and has a color pattern that is distinctive within the genus. To date, only one specimen has been found.
For a full description of these new species, see the latest edition of the Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences.