Mystery from California

February 14, 2002
From: Tina H.

I was in Salt Point, California, USA on Feb. 9. It's located on the coast in Northern California. While looking at tide pools during a negative tide I came across a large orange "slug" on the sandy bottom of one of the pools. It measured aprox. 20-25 cm long and was 14-16 cm around. It resembled a common garden slug, but was dark/burnt orange. I can't seem to find them in any of the sea slug web sites. Do you have any ideas as to what this wonderful creature could have been?
Tina H.

Tina H., 2002 (Feb 14) Mystery from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Tina,
It is very difficult to identify things without an illustration. From your dimensions it sounds as though your 'slug' might be a sea cucumber or holothurian. Have a look at the Sea Cucumber page. Another possibility is the large chiton Cryptochiton stelleri. Have a look at Peter Firminger's message for some links to some photos of that species.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Feb 14). Comment on Mystery from California by Tina H.. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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