Dendronotus rufus
O'Donoghue, 1921

Family: Dendronotidae


Known from Auke Bay, Alaska to Seattle, Washington (Behrens & Hermosillo, 2005)


Whidbey Island, Puget Sound. Washington,  USA. Depth: 30 feet. Length: 6 inches. 04 January 2005. artificial reef. Photographer: Jan Kocian

Large Dendronotus, growing to about 30 cm in length. In most specimens the body is translucent white, with some fine magenta red spotting, and a red line around the border of the foot. The tips of the branched cerata are magenta red. There is a rare 'red form'  in which the body is completely red except for a scattered translucent white spots and patches.

There are six to nine pairs of cerata [usually 7 or 8] and they are the largests and most finely brached of any species of Dendronotus. Between the ceratal rows there can be accessory 'cerata' or bushy outgrowths similar in colour and about the size of the smallest 'true cerata'. The rhinophore stalk is as large as the first cerata, and extensively branched. Similarly the five pairs of papillae along the edge of the oral veil are long and branched. In Robilliard's extensive studies (1970) he could not determine the food of this species although its stomach contenets suggested it may at times feed on the scyphistoma stage of some jellyfish.

  • Behrens, D. W. and Hermosillo, A. (2005) Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs. A Guide to the Opisthobranchs from Alaska to Central America. Monterey, California, Sea Challengers.  1-137.
  • O'Donoghue, C. H. (1921) Nudibranchiate Mollusca from the Vancouver Island region. Transactions Royal Canadian Institute, 13: 147-209.
  • Robilliard, G. A. (1970) The systematics and some aspects of the ecology of the genus Dendronotus. The Veliger, 12: 433-479, pls. 63-64.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2006 (January 31) Dendronotus rufus O'Donoghue, 1921. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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