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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mystery Creature #4

Here is a tough mystery. This creature was photographed by my wife after she had been stung by the main food of this small, but incredibly beautiful creature. It usually lives far out at sea. The photo was taken in shallow water, over coarse sand just after a storm blew lots of its prey in close to shore. This animal gets its color from its prey. It is a relative of the triton trumpet, so is yet another animal with no backbone.
Your friend,


At February 22, 2006, Anonymous 2nd grade said...

Dear Ron,
We think we have the 4th mystery of the purple creature, but we have some questions to see if we are right. Does it prey on the Portuguese Man-of-War? Does it float on a raft of bubbles? Is it found everywhere in tropical and subtropical waters? If so we think it is the Purple Sea Snail or Janthina. We saw a picture in Mrs. Taylor's seashell book of a really purple shell so we think this is what it is. We hope we are close! Please let us know. Ashleigh and Brittany

At February 22, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...

Ashleigh and Brittany

You are right about one thing. This animal does eat the Portuguese Man-of-War. But it's not the purple snail. And, it doesn't float on bubbles. It is a relative of this snail, a distant one, but related.....Keep searching!

From the Shore, Ron

At February 22, 2006, Anonymous Ashleigh and Brittany said...

Dear Ron, We think we might have the 4th mystery, again! We looked up the portuguese man-o-war's preditors on the internet and we found that the Plumed Sea Slug is one of them. We saw a picture of it and it is purple. So we think the answer to the 4th mystery is the Plumed Sea Slug. Ashleigh and Brittany

At February 22, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...

Ashleigh and Brittany,

That was very quick and your answer is just about as close to the answer as you can get. Yes, this is a sea slug - also known as a Nudibranch. They have tiny shells inside their bodies. It would be very difficult for you to find this in any books you might have and few websites have iluustrations. This has a common name, Man-of-War Nudibranch and the scientific name, Glaucous atlanticus. It was photographed on the Island of Kauai in Hawaii. For being the first to identify this as a nudibranch, I'm sending each of you a book. I hope you keep up the great research!

Your Friend, Ron

At February 23, 2006, Anonymous Ashleigh and Brittany said...

Dear Ron,
Wow! We are really excited about getting a book! Are we going to have anymore mysteries? We hope we have more mysteries because they are really fun to solve. Thanks again for the books!
Ashleigh and Brittany


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