Dendronotus nanus is variant of D. iris [1]

August 11, 2005
From: Ron Velarde

Hi Bill/ Mark,
When I first looked at the photo [message #14507], I immediately thought of Dendronotus iris. Not being familiar with Dendronotus nanus, I looked at the original description in Marcus and Marcus, 1967. And as you state and from the original description, the two species are similar and need further study. However, the two D. nanus specimens (preserved) were only 13 and 10 mm in length. The specimen shown in the photo is 3 inches long! Based on the size and where the specimen occurred, I think that this is just a spectacular color form of D. iris.

If you have the first edition of Pacific Coast Nudibranchs, Behrens, 1980, this "light phase" is shown as #88 on pages 74-75. It is also shown as #68 on pages 56-57 in McDonald and Nybakken, 1980, Guide to the Nudibranchs of California.

Ron Velarde

Velarde, R., 2005 (Aug 11) Dendronotus nanus is variant of D. iris [1]. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Ron,
I was pretty sure this animal wouldn't have escaped the notice of the Californian 'branching' community, but I couldn't find a published photo of a similar looking animal or any later reference to D. nanus.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman


Dendronotus iris

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