This species is the largest of the northeastern Pacific acanthodorids. It is a common species, and it is very noticeable because of its bright coloration, which is aposematic. The species name "lutea" is a Latin word which means an orange-yellow color.
This nudibranch grows to about 30 mm in length. It has a bright orange papillated dorsum covered with yellow specks. As is the case with many nudibranchs, this bright coloration is thought to be a reminder to would-be predators of its distasteful nature, an example of aposematic coloration.
When handled, these slugs often smell of sandalwood.
The orange-peel doris lives in the intertidal and subtidal zones on rocky shores.
Acanthodoris lutea feeds on encrusting bryozoans. It turns the chemicals received from the bryozoan food into a noxious metabolite which is toxic to possible predators (Morris et al. 1980).
This species is aposomatically colored, warning predators of this toxic deterrent. If you handle this dorid you will smell the deterrent chemical on your fingers: it has the pungent aroma of sandalwood.
- Behrens D.W., 1980, Pacific Coast Nudibranchs: a guide to the opisthobranchs of the northeastern Pacific, Sea Challenger Books, Washington
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