Archive for the ‘nudibranchs’ Category

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.

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Anyone who knows me knows I knit. A lot. So naturally the knitting and the mollusks have to comingle to some degree. While I would never wholesale devote my knitting to mollusk-related projects, I’m happy to pick one up now and again. The first I have to share with you is a pair of socks.

I enjoy making socks out of self-patterning German socks yarns, because the resulting socks are very durable and my simple mind is amused by how the pattern emerges as I’m knitting the socks. The first pair I did with Opal sock yarn were these tiger-striped beauties.


According to their website,

Opal donates proceeds from the sale of this yarn to foundations that save habitat from development and clear-cutting.

which is lovely. Wish they’d tell me where, but whatevs. The point is I saw this yarn existed and I knew I had to have it:

NUDIBRANCH YARN. Love it, bought it, knit the socks. In case your German is rusty, that word means “high wire artist.” What that has to do with nudibranchs or rainforests is anyone’s guess. And by the way, nudibranchs don’t live in the rainforest, so their place in this sock yarn series has me a bit befuddled, but the next yarn in the series, set to come out next month, has snow leopard-inspired yarn, so I’m not going to complain. Here are the socks I knit, on my very own feet:


The yarn is a little more sedate than the nudibranch that inspired it, which is probably for the best when it comes to making a wearable item. But here’s another lovely picture of the nudibranch that these socks vaguely resemble.

Nudibranchs might be my favorite mollusks, so you will be seeing much more of them around these parts.

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