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.

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.

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.

Puff and Groop

This year I’m trying to enter all the picture book writing contests I can. I’m determined to stretch myself creatively and besides, who can resist a chance at winning a prize? Here is my entry for Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest, and as you might guess, my story had to be 50 words or less. Not as easy as it sounds when you also have to include a compelling story arc. So, without further ado, here is my uber-short fish tale.

Puff & Groop

by Bonnie Kelso

Puff is a small fish.

Groop is a BIG fish,
gobbling everything in his path,
never asking questions.

When Groop gulps down Puff,
Puff goes…

POOF!!!

“Oooooooh,” moans Groop.

Puff closes his mouth,
holding his water as long as he can.

Groop opens his mouth wide.

BELCH!

Out pops Puff!

###

There were a whopping 759 entries for this contest! To read them all go to Vivian Kirkfield’s website.

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. 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!

In celebration of the changing season, I decided to write an entry for the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy hosted by Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. Thanks to the entire Children’s Literature Community for your encouragement and support.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Autumn

by Bonnie Kelso

The path to Preston’s art studio

is a narrow ribbon of dirt weaving between

blackberry bushes and pine trees.

Wide-eyed cats stare

as curious neighborhood dogs

push wet noses into my empty hands.

Finally,

the crooked house by the creek.

I walk inside,

welcomed by the scent

of sawdust and paint.

On the pegboard hangs folded art paper,

printed leaves,

familiar,

but at the same time,

different.

In the corner is her name,

not mine.

Autumn

All these weeks,

I thought I was the only student.

I never realized how special it felt to be here,

until now.

Have I been replaced?

Who is Autumn?

Is she clever?

Pretty as a scarlet maple leaf? 

I feel like the dry crumpled one,

smothered and crushed

between sheets of fresh paper.

Tossed aside.

Forgotten.

“Hi, Summer!” Preston says cheerfully,

“Come meet my new student.”

It’s her!

She is vibrant and full of artistic promise.

Tears well up in my eyes.

As I turn to leave,

she grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze.

“Friends?” she asks.

I am pulled to the table next to her.

Our hands slide into the gooey golden paint

and I feel special again.

True As Blue

Deep in my heart I’ve been wanting to write a Children’s Picture Book about global climate change and our role as stewards of this beautiful planet we live on. I’ve been waiting for a story to come to me ever so patiently. Then, just yesterday it appeared! As I sat in my backyard and wrote in my journal next to my favorite tree, the words came through my hand and I don’t even really know how. I believe it may have been from a source outside of myself. It felt like an out of body experience. I love it when that happens!

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