Re: Ancula pacifica feeding photos

June 29, 2000
From: Jeff Goddard

Hi Bill,

Regarding your comments on Bruce Wight's photo of Ancula pacifica feeding. Those are indeed the "heads" or calices of the entoproct Barentsia surrounding the Ancula. However, your left arrow in the upper photo appears to be pointing to a bryozoan lophophore; entoprocts generally do not have such long tentacles.

As to what the Flabellina in the photo is feeding on, there appear to be a few hydroid polyps (possibly Garveia sp.) directly in front of the aeolid. To my knowledge, no aeolids are known to feed on entoprocts.

All of this goes to show how careful we need to be in determining the prey of nudibranchs. Many of their prey are minute and occur in mixed company. Occurrence on or among suspected prey is the first step, followed by direct observations of feeding in the field or lab and (or) examination of gut contents. Sometimes consistent association with the suspected prey, combined with clear signs of feeding (fresh gouges into a sponge, missing polyps, empty zooecia, etc.), can be enough to confirm feeding.

Best wishes,

Goddard, J., 2000 (Jun 29) Re: Ancula pacifica feeding photos. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Jeff,
I couldn't agree more with your comments about caution in determining food items. Concerning the object the left arrow is pointing to. I think the oblique angle of the photo makes the tentacles look much longer on the near side of the ring than they really are, but I am happy to defer to your local knowledge.

Bruce's photos of both Ancula and Flabellina trilineata are a great example of how valuable a contribution divers and photographers can make to our knowledge of these spectacular animals.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jun 29). Comment on Re: Ancula pacifica feeding photos by Jeff Goddard. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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