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What the $*%! is this?!? (I need an ID, and other

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From: Backside of Anacapa Island, Channel Islands, CA

Date: January 28th, 2006

Locale: High-current/surge outcrop

 

This is by far *the* strangest thing I've ever seen underwater. To begin, yes, it was bright blue, even underwater. Secondly, it was tiny. The photo below (uncropped) is between 1:1-1:1.5. Third, yes, it is actually alive (it had such similarity to some topside beetles that I watched carefully for a few minutues, it did move and scratch at things). What I did *not* notice underwater, however, was that it's legs are bright yellow, in stark contrast to its body.

 

Everyone else was watching the sea lions :)

 

Appears crustacean-based...I wish I had more magnification for this shot...it was nestled right in a little dimple in an outcropped, very high surge back and forth. This first photo is uncropped, between 1:1-1:1.5 to give you an idea of scale.

wtf1.jpg

 

This second photo is the same as the first, except it is cropped.

wtf2.jpg

 

So, anyone? What is this thing? (And no, I'm not asking about the caprellid a cm or two below it that can be seen in the first photo... :D ) Leslie has mentioned that she thinks it may be a "podocerid amphipod", but any other ideas?

 

More to come about the Anacapa trip once I have some time to edit some photos...

 

~Matt Segal

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The colour is very strange. More typical of the UV protecting blues of neuston, that live right at the suface of the water. It actually reminds me of what my Nikon S3 does to some subjects when it thinks that there is red eye in the picture!

 

I posted a very tiny podocerid amphipod from Cayman a while back. This isn't disimilar morphologically. But then from my photos it was pretty hard to see anything too. :)

 

Alex

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I sent the amphipod, the snail, & the Flabellina (which didn't seem to have lamellata rhinophores as it should) to my friend Don Cadien, who is the very best all round invert specialist I know. His reply:

"Well, the Flabellina trilineata is correct, despite the rhinophore structure

(which is not well demonstrated in the photo). The snail is a rather

splendid shot of a fully crawling Conus californicus, and the amphipod is,

as suspected by you, a podocerid. It is Podocerus cristatus based on the

large visible teeth on the posterior pereonal segments. The interesting

question is what the hell has this thing been living on? The only possible

cryptic station for a blue animal would be the sponge Hymenamphiaster

cyanocrypta, but it has no yellow structures as counterparts to the yellow

legs. To quote Yul Brenner "'Tis a puzzlement!" "

 

Some podocerids have been suggested to be nudibranch mimics (see

http://www.seaslugforum.net/display.cfm?id=2608) In fact, the same species photographed by Matt has been linked to the nudibranch Flabellina iodinea (see http://www.seaslugforum.net/display.cfm?id=2641) What puzzles me is that the color pattern seems to be reversed for both color morphs. The yellow would seem to match the color of Flabellina iodinea appendages & should be on top, and our blue nudis have yellow appendages. I'll have to ask Don about this.

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Leslie,

 

I know Don Cadian very well. I used to work at Marine Biological Consultants back in the 1980's. Where is he working now? I'd love to say hello to him. I did some deep water box core work for him and was the lucky guy who got to work his fingers gently through freezing mud to get the animals seived.

 

Tell him Joe Belanger is one of your forum members. He'll get a kick out of that. I still keep in touch with Mike Curtis, who is still with MBC. He worked closely with Don as well. He also worked with Carol Paquette. I think she is also with MBC today. Wow, time travels fast.

 

I have seen that animal several times before. I have a pic as well, yello legs and all. Shot at Santa Rosa.

Joe

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Hey Joe, I was there too, remember? 1984-1986. Don's one of my best friends. I'll send you his email & phone via PM. I'm sure he'd be delighted to hear from you Carol's still with MBC but part time.

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You are that Leslie???? WOW!!! Small world. Hear from Martina at all?

 

Joe

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Saw her maybe 5 years ago. Martina eventually got married, had a kid, and still looks terrific. I don't remember what kind of work she's doing now. Carol might know.

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