Tambja verconis from Mokohinau Ids, N.Z.

April 28, 2003
From: Mark Burnett

Hi Bill,
Have been off air for a while with scanner problems - maybe I bought the same brand as you? Diving at the Mokohinaus a couple of weeks ago I was disappointed at the lack of nudibranchs. I saw three in two dives in terrain that looked like nudibranch heaven.

One of the three was this juvenile Tambja verconis, the smallest I have ever seen at about 4cm. It was crawling up a wall at 17.5 metres but nowhere could I find any Bugula dentata. Does it come in colours other than green? I have no idea what this individual would have been feeding on or how it got there. There is an orange bryozoan (second photo) but it certainly wasn't feeding.

The pictures were taken at Burgess Island in the Mokohinau Islands [Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park NE of Auckland, New Zealand]. Depth 17.5 metres, water temperature 19 degrees C, 22nd March, 2003.Regards
Mark Burnett


Thanks Mark,
There is always the possibility that this animal has eaten all the available Bugula and is slowly starving to death. We really don't know enough about their biology and behaviour to say whether a lone animal away from its food is just adventurous, or looking for a mate, or having eaten out its food colony, is looking for some more food. I don't know of another bryozoan that T. verconis eats. The orange bryozoan in the top left of your lower photo looks very like Orthoscuticella ventricosa (Bush, 1852), and orange species with characteristic rolled ends to it 'branches' and is found in temperate Australia. I have found marginellid snails on it but don't remember any nudibranchs being interested in it
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Apr 28). Comment on Tambja verconis from Mokohinau Ids, N.Z. by Mark Burnett. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/9607


Tambja verconis

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