Bonellia viridis

This is not nudibranch or sea slug

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Bonellia viridis from Malindi, Kenya
Identification verified by Richard Willan

Identification is verified by Richard Willan, Nudi Pixel expert

Comment from Richard Willan: This is a Proboscis Worm (phylum Echiura: family Bonelliidae), not a mollusc. Bonellia viridis is a tropical species, that hides in a burrow under coral during the day and extends its long bifurcated proboscis at night up to 30 cm. The animal in this photo has been completely removed from its burrow and its proboscis is the light green structure on the right half of the body. It is an active predator, grabbing passing soft-bodied invertebrates, including opisthobranchs, to feed upon. This individual is a female; the male is tiny and it lives in the same burrow as the female. The male rarely feeds and it serves largely to fertilise the female.

Thanks to João Pedro Silva for suggesting identification for this species

Comment from João Pedro Silva: Agree on the identification but it must be said that Bonellia viridis is not a tropical species. I've never seen it in the Indian Ocean but it's very common in the Eastern Atlantic (Portugal). At least here, the proboscis of the female is much larger (up to more than 1m long) and darker. I've only seen the body of a female Bonellia viridis once (it grew inside a juice packet recovered during an underwater clean-up in Sesimbra, Portugal) and it was of a much lighter green than this. Even during the day one can see proboscis extended from the small holes in the rock, with the T-shaped end visibly crawling in the bottom.

Location:Malindi, Kenya
Photographer:Angelo de Faveri
Camera:Olympus EVOLT E-410View EXIF properties
Taken on:August 21, 2009
Viewed:814 times
Posted:8 years ago
Updated:8 years ago

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Scientific Classification

Species:Bonellia viridis