Hooded Nudibranch

Hooded Nudibranch white19″x 24″

Hooded Nudibranch
Melibe leonina

Marine_7-07_11159

Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington

Archival Pigment Print

In the world of tiny crustaceans, the hooded nudibranch is the great white shark, its tentacle-fringed hood the equivalent of a toothy pair of jaws. Here, we’re looking up into that maw, formed by a fantastically expanded face. In normal feeding position, the hooded nudibranch holds the hood up, face forward or down. To catch the small crustaceans on which it feeds, it either closes the opening, purse string–style, around an animal that has strayed inside, or it brings the hood down on top of the prey like a net trapping a butterfly. Once the prey is captured, the nudibranch squeezes the hood to force the animal into its mouth.