NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Hexabranchus Sanguineus

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to December’s festive supermodel:

Hexabranchus Sanguineus

Dr. James P. McVey, (Photo Collection of Dr. James P. McVey) NOAA Sea Grant Program, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

(AKA, the Spanish Dancer )

You may be thinking, what exactly am I looking at here? This is in fact a nudibranch and not a Christmas poinsettia. Hexy is one of the biggest nudibranchs out there and can grow up to 24 inches long! Yeah, measure that out. It’s a staggering size in the world of sea slugs!

Is it too soon for some holiday celebration? These beauties come in bright red, pink, orange or sometimes yellow. They can be found in warm waters all the way from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea.

As cool as it is to watch a Spanish Dancer “dance,” try to remember that they only do this when they feel threatened and are trying to get away. So if you see one lying on the sea floor, please respect its personal space. No one likes to be forced onto the dance floor.

Feliz Navidad, dude!

I hope you enjoyed meeting the flamboyant Hexabranchus Sanguineus nudibranch. Stay tuned for January’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Dendronotus Rufus

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. November’s supermodel is (drumroll, please):

Dendronotus Rufus

This month I’d like to change things up a bit with a little quiz called:

“FLORA or FAUNA”

I’ll show you an image and you have to guess if it’s FLORA (a plant) or FAUNA (an animal).

Ready?

.

.

.

Let’s go!

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5

Wait a minute…

Let’s take

a closer look

at that one…

#5A
#6
#7

Hey!

Wait a minute…

That’s our November Pin-Up,

Dendronotus Rufus!

Dendronotus Rufus is really good at blending in with their environment. They have long branched papillae and rhinophores making them appear more like stationary soft coral than a mobile nudibranch. Pretty tricky, D. Rufus!

Thanks for playing my game! Here are the correct answers:

#1 Fauna

Starfish might move uber-slow, but they are definitely animals.

#2 Fauna

This beautiful delicate little thing is called a Christmas Tree Worm. When they sense danger they tuck inside themselves, making it seem as if they have suddenly disappeared.

#3 Fauna

This is a sea sponge. Like a plant, they are fixed in one place, but because they do not synthesize their own food, they are animals. Nutrient-rich water flows through them providing them with the sustenance they require to live.

#4 Flora

Yup. This is sea grass. Sea grass can grow in clusters creating dense underwater meadows. The fluffy stuff is algae, also considered flora.

#5 Fauna

These are garden eels. They float up from their burrows and wave in the currents collecting food. In this position a colony of garden eels looks very much like sea grass. But when they are threatened they slide down into their burrows quickly making you wonder what happened to all the “grass.”

#6 Fauna

Soft corals are colonial organisms, which means they are formed of colonies of polyps. This is a species of soft coral known as Dendronephythya. It consumes phytoplankton. I think you can see from this friendly fauna where Dendronotus Rufus gets their name.

#7 Fauna

Last, but certainly not least, we have Dendronotus Rufus. Definitely an animal and a delightfully unusual one to be sure.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the beautiful and bizarre Dendronotus Rufus and all their fauna friends. Stay tuned for December’s NUDI GILL PIN-UP with a special holiday gift from me.

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

Halloweensie Writing Contest

Arrrrrooooh! It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Writing Contest again.

Here are the rules in case you want to join in. You have until midnight on Halloween to enter.

THE CONTEST: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in word count) using the words glow-in-the-darkgoosebumps, and goodies.

My story is inspired by my trip to the Crystal Palace roller skating rink last night. Being close to Halloween, there were lots of people in costume. And the black lights really brought out the creepy. (I dedicate this story to my sister who had a less that spooktacular time last night. Love you, Shmee!)

Party Skating GIF By Lolita.

Good luck to everyone entering the contest!


All Hallow’s Eve at the Roller Rink

Glow-in-the-dark ghosts dangle from dingy drop ceilings.

THRILLER thrums through skull-shaped speakers.

A Vincent Price voice commands the session.

“Creatures of the night, take to your wheels and GLIDE!”

Tiny Fairy Princess runs on her skates.

CLICKETY CLUNK-CLUNK CLACK!

Colliding with a wall-hugging werewolf. 

BUMPITY BUMP-BUMP BANG!

Speed-demon Grim Reaper’s tattered black robe flutters. 

Pumpkin-headed gargoyle grapevines backwards.

Skeletons scissor and spin sporadically inspiring goosebumps.

Zealous Zombies dip and moan to the monstrous music.

Goblins gobble down goodies. 

CRUNCHITY CHOMP-CHOMP CRUNCH!

Bone-brittle cotton candy and paprika-peppered popcorn.

HOPPITY HOOT-HOOT HOWL!

It’s All Hallow’s Eve at the roller rink!


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

Picture Book Critique Fest 2021

Just passing on the word that #PBCritiqueFest 2021 is open for submissions! Fill out the form to enter to win critiques of your latest work-in-progress from industry professionals like:

Tara Lazar, Jemiscoe Chambers-Black, and Brian Lies!

(And many, many more!)

This event is hosted by the fearless Brian Gehrlein, who’s first picture book, “The Book of Rules,” will be releasing next month. It looks super cute and like a really fun read-aloud.

So, if you’re a picture book creator like me, I highly recommend throwing your name in the hat. Professional critiques have been such a help to me over the years. It’s always great to receive advice from people who are further along their journey than I am.

Good luck and keep on creating!

Bonnie


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Nembrotha Aurea

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to October’s supermodel:

Nembrotha Aurea

By Bernard Picton – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22742547

Check out the spectacular colors on this elegant nudibranch! Getting any ideas for Halloween costumes here?

This little nudibranch feeds on colonial ascidians, otherwise known as sea squirts. Mmmmm, makes my mouth water!

All Nudibranchs are classified into sub-species. For example, this one falls into the Nudibranchia suborder of Dorid Nudibranchs. From there it breaks down further into the Phanerobranch category of Dorids. These nudibranchs are generally long and slender with well defined heads. They also have non-retractable gills on their backs. In fact, the word phanerobranch means “evident gill.” Just a little science stuff to geek out about.

Phanerobranch dorid nudibranchs sometimes exhibit a behavior known as rearing. Sometimes they do it because they are repulsed by something toxic or dangerous. Other times they lift their upper bodies up like this just to have a better “look” around. You never know, there might be a mate or something yummy to eat nearby. They sense such things through their rhinophores, not their eye spots.

Where’s the buffet?

These nudibranchs can be found in the Tropical Indo-West Pacific. Where’s that? It’s the Indian Ocean and beyond. A watery paradise stretching from the east coast of Africa all across the Asian coastline and touching the shores of Australia. This nudibranch really gets around!

Image source: Global Village Space

I hope you enjoyed meeting the beautiful Nembrotha Aurea nudibranch. Stay tuned for November’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

Fall Writing Frenzy Contest

I’m excited to participate in the Fall Writing Frenzy Contest again this year. Thanks to Lydia, Kaitlyn and Ameera for hosting. If you’d like to join or read the entries, here’s the link!

Persephone Rises (YA)

Tonight is the night.

Ch-chills shake my bones.

The veil between the living and the dead grows thin 

as the sickle-shaped moon shows me my truth.

Spirits pass inside shadows unseen.

They’ll stop at nothing to return me to my prison.

At fourteen everything was taken from me…

my home, my free will, my pride.

Even my own father stole my innocence.

Taken against my wishes.

Six crimson seeds, laden with deception, 

were all I took for myself.

There used to be a time 

when I glided barefoot through cool meadows, 

soft petals blooming from my footprints.

But now, no balm can soothe these hell-scorched feet.

My mother sleeps, wasted from a long day’s harvest.

She works so hard to maintain my custody.

When she first lost me, she raged at everything.

Her barter with the tempest held back the rain.

Drought brought death to nature’s bounty.

She commanded locusts to devour whatever remained.

Her blood is my blood.

I gently draw the scythe from her hand.

What cuts wheat also cuts flesh. 

Nothing can be done to me 

that has not already been done.

A victim no more.

Tonight is the night

I stand strong and fight.

Fall- Credit: Vino Li / Unsplash

NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Sea Clown

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to September’s supermodel:

Triopha Catalinae

Photograph by Minette Layne from Seattle, Washington, USA – Salome

Check out that mustache! Unlike other dorid nudibranchs, the sea clown’s dorsal gills are not fully retractable. Triopha Catalinae is comfortable letting it all hang out!

Spotted Triopha, or Triopha maculata, photographed in Morro Bay, California by Robin Agarwal. Sourced from Flickr and shared via Creative Commons License.

The Sea clown also comes in opposite coloration. Which is your favorite? I can’t decide, but I’m loving these fall colors. Makes me crave a pumpkin latte.

Photograph by divindk
Santa Barbara, USA
. Sourced from Flickr and shared via Creative Commons License.

No clowning around, these nudibranchs are small. How many sea clowns could pile into a clown car? Probably all of them!

Who are you calling a clown?

The sea clown’s scientific name is derived from Santa Catalina Island, California, but you can find these nudibranchs in the Western Pacific from Mexico all the way to Alaska. They have also been found in costal areas of Japan and South Korea.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the Triopha Catalinae nudibranch. Stay tuned for October’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Pteraeolidia Ianthina

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to August’s supermodel:

Pteraeolidia Ianthina

A Serpent Pteraeolidia (Pteraeolidia ianthina). Halifax Point, Port Stephens, NSW. Photograph by Richard Ling.

A long serpentine body covered in blue, purple, green, or brown cerata (respiratory organs), earned this nudibranch the nickname of blue dragon. Its long winding body is reminiscent of a Chinese Dragon. So cool. Check out this mug. What a face!

Photograph by Sarah Han-de-Beaux. You have GOT to check out her website and amazing photographs, really!

What I find most astonishing about Pteraeolidia Ianthina is that is it solar-powered. Tesla has nothing on this baby! This nudibranch has developed a method of capturing and farming microscopic plants (known as zooxanthellae) right inside its own body. It’s a win-win relationship because the nudibranch provides protection for the plants and the plants help feed the nudibranch with the sugars they convert from the sun’s energy. (Read more about this on The Sea Slug Forum.)

The more zooxanthellae, the greener the nudibranch appears.

Talk about going green!

You can find these fiercely fabulous nudibranchs throughout the Indo-Pacific.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the Pteraeolidia Ianthina Nudibranch. Stay tuned for September’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Hopkin’s Rose Nudibranch

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to July’s supermodel:

Hopkin’s Rose Nudibranch

Photograph by Jerry Kirkhart, Los Osos, CA

Bubble-gum pink papillae cover this beauty from head to toe. And now you are probably scratching your head and wondering, where’s the head and where’s the toe? Look closely for the two rhinophores poking out on the right end.

BINGO! That’s the head. A nudibranch’s toe (or foot) typically spans the length of its belly, but Rose’s mantle, head, and foot are kind of all merged together in one flattish base. Below is a cool shot of the edge of Rose’s foot/body/mantle. And in case you were wondering again which end you are looking at, well… those feathery bits are anal gills. So basically, she’s showing off her bodacious bum here.

Photograph by Robin Agarwal

Another unique thing about Rose is her extra-large middle tooth. Give us a smile, Rose!

Hubba Bubba!

You can find more of these cool creatures lurking in tidal pools all along the Pacific Coastline from Baja California to Oregon.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the Hopkin’s Rose Nudibranch. Stay tuned for August’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!

Bonnie

Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.