Opalescent Nudibranch

Hermissenda opalescens





The opalescent nudibranch is a common aeolid nudibranch species located within niches that range from the rocky intertidal zone to muddy flats (1).  The geographic location of this particular species is along the Pacific coast of North America and Asia (1).  In regards to the physical attributes of this nudibranch, some distinguishing features include the pigmentation with vibrant orange areas on the back and blue lines along each side (2).  The body size on average is approximately 3 inches long that behold finger-like projections on the back with white and gold tips (2).   This species is a generalist with a wide range of preferred food including cnidarians, tunicates, bryozoans, sponges, and annelids (1).  In respect to research, the Hermissenda opalescens is an important model species within neuroscience having to do with classical conditioning and associative learning (3).  


(1) Hoover, R.A., Armour, R., Dow, I., Purcell, J.E. (2012).  Nudibranch predation and dietary preference for the polyps of Aurelia labiata (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa). Hydrobiologia, 690(1), 199-213.  DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1044-x

(2) Opalescent nudibranch. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/opalescen...

(3) Lindsay, T., Valdes, A. (2016). The Model Organism Hermissenda crassicornis (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) Is a Species Complex. PLoS ONE, 11(4) e0154265.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154265

(Photograph) ©2007 Gary McDonald

(Photograph) Peter J. Bryant, University of California, Irvine


  • Rocky Intertidal