Western dondice

Dondice occidentalis

Family Facelinidae - nudibranchs

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Gastropod, no shell, body elongate, soft and flexible, translucent; head with 2 pair of tentacles, the posterior pair, called rhinophores are annulated (ringed) with up to 18 rings each; color is extremely variable; head with a median stripe from tip to just behind rhinophores, color varies from yellow to orange to red; body with a broken median stripe down back, color varies from white to bluish white to yellow, sometimes absent; sides with broken bands, ranging in color from red to yellow to white, sometimes absent; cerata (outgrowths on the sides) clumped in about 6 groups per side, red to orange bands near tips, tips white to bluish white; sometimes you can see its black jaws showing through the body wall of the head, sometimes distinct, sometimes not.
Similar Species
The western dondice can be distinguished from other nudibranchs by its annulated rhinophores, the median stripe on the head and broken body stripe on the dorsum, the cerata occurring in groups, and the colored rings near the tips of the cerata.
Habitat
Gulf and bays, free-swimming, may be associated with (i.e. feeds on) hydroids
Maximum Size
3 cm (1 1/5 in)
Other Common Names
fringe-back nudibranch
Previous Scientific Names
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