Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
Like all nudibranchs, the frosted nudibranch is a carnivore, but unlike most, it’s fairly catholic in its diet—eating everything from moss animals and sea squirts to sponges and barnacles. Individuals in different places feed on different organisms according to what’s available. One researcher examined the feeding habits of populations on San Juan Island, Washington: On a reef practically devoid of animal life except for three species of tiny snail, the nudibranchs subsisted on those snails; in a location where moss animals were especially abundant, the slugs fed largely on them. This dietary flexibility may allow the species to live in a broader range of habitats than is typical for nudibranchs, most of which have much more restricted diets.