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Remarkable video of a nudibranch stalking and attacking a sea anemone

By Igor I. Solar
Posted Dec 15, 2012 in Environment
In previous articles we have shown underwater pictures and videos, and offered information about some interesting marine creatures. This blog shows a riveting scene of a nudibranch in the process of stalking and capturing its favorite prey, a sea anemone.
The video was posted in YouTube by “Rendevous Diving” of Port Alberni, BC. The take is 1.5-minute long and shows a nudibranch (marine slug) with its characteristic slowness, apparently exploring the seabed. The sea-slug seems to spot the presence of a type of anemone which is its favorite prey. The nudibranch evaluates its position and that of the prey, for a brief moment stalks and prepares the attack, and suddenly jumps over the anemone with accuracy similar to that of a feline attacking a bird.
The nudibranch in question is called Dendronotus iris (common name: Giant Nudibranch). D. iris inhabits the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. Its color is variable, but usually orange. The average adult size is about 10 centimeters, but can reach up to 30 cm. Its main food is precisely the anemone shown in the video. This anemone is called Pachycerianthus fimbriatus (commonly known as “tube dwelling anemone” or ”burrowing anemone”). P. fimbriatus inhabits the sub-tidal waters of the Pacific Northwest.
This video depicts an example of the interaction between predator and prey, a link which is repeated so often in nature in all environments, water, land and air.