California, USA to Baja California, Mexico.
UPPER: Channel Ids, California, USA .Photo: Ken Tucker.
LOWER: San Miguel Island [Channel Ids, California] July 2000. Photo: Bruce Wight.
D. albopunctata grows to 60mm in length Its colour varies from yellow, orange to brown and the mantle is ornamented with opaque white spots some of which are present in the centre of conical tubercles. The white spots are small glands. The size and density of the tubercles varies widely between animals in single populations. The rhinophores are orange-yellow to yellow and have about 11-30 lamellae. There are 5-6 bi- or tripinnate gills which are white to pale yellow. The egg ribbon forms a upright spiral attached along one edge. It is yellow, orange or off-white. The larvae are planktotrophic. Doriopsis reticulata Cockerell 1905 and Doriopsis fulva MacFarland, 1905 are considered synonyms of this species.
There are two recently described species which are very similar in shape and colour.
• Doriopsilla gemela Gosliner, Schaefer & Millen, 1999 is similar in colour with small opaque white spots, but its mantle appears to be smooth although it has some minute tubercles. It grows to 40 mm. Its rhinophores are yellow-orange to yellow and they have 7-10 lamellae. There are 5-7 bright orange or yellow bi- to tripinnate gills. The egg ribbon forms a flattened spiral of 3 whorls, and the larvae are lecithotrophic. It differs in having deep yellow or yellow-orange gills whereas D. albopunctata has white or pale yellow gills. There are fewer rhinophore lamellae in D. gemela, and the larger mantle tubercles of D. albopunctata contain glands while the small ones of D. gemela don't. The larval development type and egg ribbons are also quite different.
• Baptodoris mimetica Gosliner, 1991 is also very similarly coloured. D. albopunctata differs in having a relatively soft & fleshy body while B. mimetica is more rigid and the mantle is covered with microscopic caryophyllidia. The gills of B. mimetica are held more erect, and unlike species of Dendrodoris and Doriopsilla, Baptodoris mimetica has a head and oral tents. There are of course many anatomical differences.
Despite these many apparent differences, it is not always easy to distinguish these three species from photographs.
• Gosliner, T.M. (1991) Four new species and a new genus of opisthobranch gastropods from the Pacific coast of North America. The Veliger, 34(3): 272-290.
• Gosliner, T. M., Maria C. Schaefer, & Sandra V. Millen. (1999) A new species of Doriopsilla (Nudibranchia: Dendrodorididae) from the Pacific Coast of North America, including a comparison with Doriopsilla albopunctata (Cooper, 1863). The Veliger, 42(3): 201-210.
Rudman, W.B., 2001 (August 5) Doriopsilla albopunctata (Cooper, 1863). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/dorialbo
February 9, 2005
From: Bruce Wight
While at the oil Rigs off San Pedro, California, USA for the first time in April 2004. Amongst many other things, I saw a flat worm that I first thought was a Doriopsilla albopunctata . Do any of you know the species of the worm?
email@example.comWight, B.C., 2005 (Feb 9) Flatworm mimic? of Doriopsilla albopunctata . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/12557
This flatworm does have a remarkable resemblance to Doriopsilla albopunctata. It would interesting to know whether the similarity is just a co-incidence or whether it is a case of true mimicry where one species [the mimic] has evolved to resemble another [the model].
August 10, 2004
From: Bruce Wight
Here are photos of two Doriopsilla albopunctata I took on a recent trip to San Miguel Island [Channel Ids, California] in July, 2004.
firstname.lastname@example.orgWight, B., 2004 (Aug 10) Doriopsilla albopunctata from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/12710
You seem to have caught a mating pair in the upper photo
September 4, 2003
From: Sean Kearney
I thought that I might add an action photo of Doriopsilla albopunctata depositing an egg ribbon.
Location: Point Loma kelp beds, San Diego, California, USA. Depth: 72ft. August 24, 2003 Photo: Sean Kearney.
email@example.comKearney, S., 2003 (Sep 4) Doriopsilla albopunctata egg ribbon. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/10884
August 3, 2003
From: Bruce Wight
Johanna and I saw lots of great natural behavior on last weekends dive trip out to San Miguel Island [Channel Islands National Park, California - July 2003]. Here is one of a series of messages I am sending to the Forum showing some images I took during the two day trip.
It is of Dendrodoris fulva. The upper photo shows two yellow animals mating and a lrager one 'watching'. It shows their color variation quite well.
Hope you enjoy the images,
firstname.lastname@example.orgWight, B., 2003 (Aug 3) Mating Doriopsilla albopunctata. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/10649
As I mentioned recently, Dendrodoris fulva is now considered the same as Doriopsilla albopunctata. I've included a close-up of the mantle to show how the white specks are on slightly raised tubercles
July 30, 2003
From: Chris Grossman
I took these pictures of Dendrodoris fulva at San Nicolas Island, California on July 18, 2003. The dive site is a a reef between Begg Rock and the Island called 7 fathom reef. The depth at the spot I took the pictures was about 10 fathoms [approx 20 meters]. The spot is subject to strong currents and is rocky, but very lush with a great deal of palm kelp.
As you'll see on the species Fact Sheet, Dendrodoris fulva is now considered to be the same species as Doriopsilla albopunctata
August 8, 2001
From: Ken Tucker
Didn't see one of these on your site.
Think I have identified it correctly.
This was taken in 1995, in the Channel Islands, California, USA. I didn't log much info in those days, so that's all the info I have.
Tucker, K., 2001 (Aug 8) Doriopsilla albopunctata? from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4873
Yes you have correctly identified it. Being cautious I checked with Dave Behrens who drew my attention to the Gosliner et al paper I cite below. By chance I have also just received some photos of this animal from Bruce Wight which I am also posting.
• Gosliner, T. M., Maria C. Schaefer, & Sandra V. Millen. (1999) A new species of
Doriopsilla (Nudibranchia: Dendrodorididae) from the Pacific Coast of North America, including a comparison with Doriopsilla albopunctata (Cooper, 1863). The Veliger, 42(3): 201-210.
August 8, 2001
From: Bruce Wight
It has been a while since we chatted. My wife and I just got back from an incredible trip to San Miguel Island which is the northern most of our Channel Islands off the California coast. It was a serious branch lovers experience. The water seemed warm for up there, it was in the high 50s. On the boat with my wife and I were Alan Grant, Mike Miller, and Marc Chamberlain all very active and knowledgeable branchers. Attached are two photos of Dendrodoris fulva.
UPPER: This photo is from an earlier trip -June 25, 2000 on Farnsworth Banks off Catalina Island in about 90 feet of water. I wanted to include it to show the variation in color this animal has.
LOWER: was taken on the San Miguel Island trip.
email@example.comWight, B., 2001 (Aug 8) Doriopsilla albopunctata from California. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/5032
Thanks for these photos and the others you sent which I will post separately. By chance I have also received a photo of this animal from Ken Tucker and on checking up it appears that D. fulva has been replaced by an earlier name D. albopunctata. I have just prepared a page on that species with a discussion about the names and similar looking species.