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 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.

Going with the Flow


I felt well enough today to write a blog post! Yay! Chemotherapy treatment for Breast Cancer is no picnic, but I did manage to get out to Mt. Charleston last weekend. It was a little frustrating because I could only make it to this little creek. I didn’t even make it all the way to Little Falls, a hike I normal would consider a “baby hike.” With anemia and general fatigue weighing me down at 7,000 feet, I just didn’t have it in me. But it was nice to just sit and listen to the water flow. I am reminded that I too am in the flow of healing.

A lot of what I’m going through emotionally reminds me of when I was pregnant. So much scaling back of all the things a normally love to do. Although I won’t get a beautiful baby out of this deal, I do hope to gain a life in remission from cancer.

My creative projects have had to shift to a glacial timeframe of development as well. This is especially dangerous for a person like me, because when I’m lying down, I think of new things I want to create. I have a growing list of projects I want to initiate, develop and complete once I get through this year of treatment. Even as I am waiting this time out, I am grateful for the experience. Cancer has given me a new awareness of who I am and what I’m here to do. Yes, there is always a bright side, even to cancer.

Continue reading

Santa Cruz Island Meditation

I’ve just returned from one of my favorite nature preserves, the Channel Islands. It is an archipelago off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. I created this short meditation video for you filmed on Santa Cruz Island. I hope you will take a few minutes out of your busy day to escape, relax and enjoy the flight of seabirds, the sounds of wind and gentle waves, and the stillness of a canyon full of morning glories.

Wishing you restored peace and serenity. Continue reading

Creating Desert Marigolds

desert marigoldYou can’t walk a few feet without seeing one around my neighborhood right now. Their cheerful little heads atop long thin stems bobbing joyfully like little yellow flags in the breeze. They seem to shout out to everyone who passes by, “Hey! Look at me! Wheee!” They are wild and their lives may be short, but together they have the capacity to brighten this dry desert landscape. Their very existence proves that even under the harshest of environments, there is beautiful bubbling life, just waiting for the perfect conditions in which to burst forth. Continue reading

Patiently Receiving Possibility

patiently-receiving-possibility-smThis morning I am allowing myself to sit still quietly… observing. Watchful like the owl in the night, patiently awaiting an impulse to act. Open to all possibilities, half in dream and half awake, silently shifting between the inner and outer worlds. Surrounded by an abundance of inspiration, I delight in the stillness of my own carefully cultivated patience. Continue reading