Everyone talks about me! They say . . . “ Oh, that Opal-Nova Opalescent Nudibranch (NEW-duh-brank)! She’s the most beautiful, graceful animal in the entire ocean!” Or “Mother Nature went all out giving Opal-Nova her marvelous colors and form.” Well, yes, my colors are unique! I’m translucent white, with a brilliant, yellowish-orange line down the center of my back. Shocking, bluish-white lines outline the orange. Whitish-blue lines run down my sides, from the front points of my antennae to the tip of my tail. Oh, the clumps of finger-like projections all over my back and sides? These bright brownish-yellow, golden-tipped tentacles are cerata (ser-AH-tuh), an important part of my defense mechanisms.
I need defense! I’m a sea slug, a snail without a shell. My long, straight, soft body has no place to hide. I do have a pair of highly sensitive, whitish-blue tentacles called rhinophores (RYE-nuh-fors) on top of my head. These are my “nose” to help me sniff out both prey and predators. And out in front, I have a pair of long, projecting tentacles. Set into my body at the bases of these tentacles are my eyes that alert me to shadows of nearby enemies as well as possible prey.
SIZE: Length: up to 3.25 inches: average 2 inches. Width: 0.25 - 0.375 inches. COLOR: See story.
FOOD: Carnivorous. Hydroids, sea anemones, sponges, corals, annelids, tiny clams, each other.
PREDATORS: Other nudibranchs, fishes, sea spiders, crabs, sea stars. TIDAL ZONE: Low intertidal to 120 feet deep. RANGE: Kodiak Island, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico. LIFESPAN: Up to 1 year.