I’m striving to take my own photos of mollusks I see in the wild. Sadly, I’m no great photographer, but I’ll do my best. This first one is moreover an extra bad photo, since it was taken with a disposable underwater camera, and I didn’t read until after the snorkeling trip that the camera was meant to be used from at least three feet away from the subject, but it was one of my more exciting mollusk finds, which is why I can’t resist posting about it. Here is the photo I took of Hermissenda crassicornis, a nudibranch that lives in the Eastern Pacific.
Can you see the nudibranch? It’s the orangeish spot with the two little tentacles near the bottom of that spotty piece of kelp, and there’s another just above it. I saw this while snorkeling in Ketchikan, Alaska, which was really the highlight of my recent trip there. Hard to pick a highlight, because orcas were seen doing some Shamu-level stunts, but I’d never been snorkeling before and it was a really special place to start. There were many other mollusks seen that morning, including limpets and lots of bivalves. Other invertebrates included sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs (including the hermit variety!), jellies, and more. Here’s a better picture of this nudibranch, taken by Mila Zinkova.
They are quite aggressive, eating anemones, sea squirts, and even smaller members of their own species. Cannibalism, yikes! Still, I was thrilled to see this nudibranch in Alaska (I was hoping for an octopus but I knew that was near impossible), and I’m going to adapt the pattern for a knit nudibranch to match this particular species as my next mollusk knitting project.