Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Spanish Shawl Nudibranch (Flabellina iodinea) Share Flipboard Email Print Douglas Klug / Getty Images Animals & Nature Marine Life Marine Life Profiles Marine Habitat Profiles Sharks Key Terms Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Jennifer Kennedy Marine Science Expert M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. our editorial process Jennifer Kennedy Updated January 27, 2020 The Spanish shawl nudibranch (Flabellina iodinea), also known as the purple aeolis, is a striking nudibranch, with a purple or bluish body, red rhinophores and orange cerata. Spanish shawl nudibranchs can grow to about 2.75 inches in length. Unlike some nudibranchs, which remain on their chosen substrate, this nudibranch can swim in the water column by flexing its body from side to side in a u-shape. Classification Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: MolluscaClass: GastropodaOrder: NudibranchiaFamily: FlabellinoideaGenus: Flabellinaspecies: iodinea Habitat and Distribution You might think of a colorful creature like this as inaccessible - but Spanish shawl nudibranchs are found in relatively shallow water in the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia, Canada to the Galapagos Islands. They can be found in intertidal areas out to a water depth of about 130 feet. Feeding This nudibranch feeds on a species of hydroid (Eudendrium ramosum), which possesses a pigment called astaxanthin. This pigment gives the Spanish shawl nudibranch its brilliant color. In the Spanish shawl nudibranch, the astaxanthin shows up in 3 different states, creating the purple, orange and red colors found on this species. Astaxanthin is also found in other marine creatures, including lobsters (which contributes to the lobster's red appearance when cooked), krill, and salmon. Reproduction Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic, they poses reproductive organs of both sexes, so they can mate opportunistically when another nudibranch is nearby. Mating occurs when two nudibranchs get together - the reproductive organs are on the right side of the body, so the nudibranchs match up their right sides. Usually both animals pass sperm sacs through a tube, and eggs are laid. Nudibranchs may be found first by seeing their eggs - if you see eggs, the adults who laid them may be nearby. The Spanish shawl nudibranch lays ribbons of eggs that are pinkish-orange in color, and are often found on the hydroids upon which it preys. After about a week, the eggs develop into free-swimming veligers, which eventually settle on the ocean bottom as a miniature nudibranch that grows into a larger adult. Sources Goddard, J.H.R. 2000. Flabellina iodinea (Cooper, 1862). Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Accessed November 11, 2011.McDonald, G. Intertidal Invertebrates of the Monterey Bay Area, California. Accessed November 11, 2011.Rosenberg, G. and Bouchet, P. 2011. Flabellina iodinea (J. G. Cooper, 1863). World Register of Marine Species. Accessed on November 14, 2011.SeaLifeBase. Flabellina iodinea. Accessed November 14, 2011.