Acanthodoris lutea from Washington State

November 24, 2006
From: Lowell Thomson

I recently identified a nudibranch from Sund Rock (Hood Canal, Washington State, USA) as a "White Spotted Sea Goddess." (Doriopsilla albopunctata)

Locality: Sund Rock, approx. 30 fsw, Washington State, USA, Hood Canal (Pacific Ocean), 25 October 2006, On a rock wall. Length: approx. 2 inches. Photographer: Lowell Thomson.

Looking at my picture, and the pictures in both Lamb and Hanby's "Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest" and Behrens and Hermosillo's "Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs ", my ID seems reasonable... But here's my issue. Behrens and Hermosillo write, "Mendocino, CA to Punta Eugenia, Baja California, Mexico." Lamb and Hanby write, "s. BC to n. Mexico" and "...this nudibranch was only recently found north of California."

I submitted this question to and it was suggested I ask on the Slug Forum.

Any help would be appreciated.

Lowell Thomson

Thomson, L.A., 2006 (Nov 24) Acanthodoris lutea from Washington State. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Hi Lowell

Your identification was close, but this species is actually, Acanthodoris lutea. The key differences are that your critter has very tall papillae on the dorsum (Doriopsilla has very low tubercles) and very long rhinophores with brown tips.

Doripsilla is a porostome dorid, meaning it has no pronounced head with oral tentacles and it lacks radula teeth. If you had turned your animal over you would have seen its head.

With all the reports we are getting about the terrible environmental conditions in Hood Canal, it is good to see something is still alive.

Best wishes,
Dave Behrens

Behrens, D.W., 2006 (Nov 24). Comment on Acanthodoris lutea from Washington State by Lowell Thomson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Acanthodoris lutea

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