Spanish Dancer


Form and function

RhizophoresRhinophores act much like the human nose and act as a sensory organ by helping the nudibranch locate food and even possibly find its mate since they do not have eyes. Rhinophores are two hornlike structures/tentacles found on the head of a nudibranch. Just as mentioned before, the Spanish dancer does not have eyes. Instead they have embedded sensory organs that allow them to distinguish light and dark. The color of the dancer’s body changes in response to light and dark as well. During light hours, the color of the body can be pink to crimson color with white markings, and at night it will appear pinkish-red and blotchy (Maui Ocean Center, 2013). In response to danger, the Spanish dancer has an advantage over other nudibranchs in that it can swim away. Just how does this organism swim? The Spanish dancer enables itself to swim through sweeping dorsoventral flexations, sending synchronous waves through the nudibranchs body, or mantle (Pawlik et al. 1988). This organism is limited however in that it can only swim for short periods of time. To see how they swim check out this link.


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