Cryptic itty-bitties make for exciting finds.

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Posted by Merry on March 02, 2015 at 08:51:24:

Bushy bryozoans are full of these busy caprellid amphipods or skeleton shrimp. They blend in perfectly with the substrate, but with patience can be coaxed out for a closer look. The first thing you'll notice is that they feverishly hop from perch to perch, dipping and swaying their upper body as they snatch food particles wafting by. It's fun to watch their inchworm-like locomotion.

This one appears to have captured a worm.
Caprellid amphipod & worm photo Amphipod and worm DSC_9812_zpsmzeybiul.jpg

It drops the worm!
Caprellid amphipod drops worm photo Amphipod drops worm DSC_9814_zpspthnxsjo.jpg

These gravid females will care for the eggs in their brood pouches until the fully developed young emerge. It was quite a lively scene with transparent juveniles of different sizes crawling all over these adults.
Gravid amphipods photo Amphipod 800 DSC_9805_zpstvsouequ.jpg

It's easy to overlook a tube nest of gammarid amphipods on the tip of a kelp blade.
Kelp curlers photo Kelp curler taquito br DSC_9911_zpssewemcbh.jpg

This may be the last we'll see of the minuscule Doto amyra for a bit.
Dr. Jeff Goddard related that this nudi might actually be a different species that he refers to as Doto form A. Taxonomy is ongoing for Doto species.

Ten (!) Dotos on this kelp float with plenty of room to spare.
Dotos on kelp float photo Doto form A on kelp float from jpg sized DSC_9303_zpsdjnujavb.jpg

Here's a close-up of those on the kelp float that are mating and laying eggs.
Doto family photo Doto form A family close DSC_9320_zps58edwzqk.jpg

A "large" Doto form A. Aren't its pulpit-shaped rhinophores the definition of elegant design?
Doto amyra form A photo Doto form A DSC_9601_zpsj3sjnscg.jpg

Doto amyra 2 photo Doto form A orig 800 DSC_9605_zpswofvdoud.jpg

Corambe pacifica is one of the most perfectly cryptic nudis. It feeds exclusively on the bryozoan invertebrate animal, Membranipora membranacea.
Corambe pacifica photo Corambe pacifica DSC_9689_zpsbtcsd3gg.jpg

Its white markings make it virtually disappear on the bryozoan colonies. We couldn't find any adults or eggs on our last dive, so I think they're gone until their veligers settle once more onto newly forming bryozoan colonies.
Corambe pacifica lines photo Corambe lines DSC_9643_zpsh0extxte.jpg

Corambe feeding on the zooids of the bryozoan colony.
Corambe pacifica & lophophores photo Corambe amp lophophores DSC_9419_zpsaoa1pwt2.jpg

Eubranchus rustyus is another cryptic nudibranch that inhabits kelp blades. This one is particularly handsome with wild green speckles at the base of its cerata.
Metallic Eubranchus rustyus photo Eubranchus rustyus 800 DSC_9928_zps6pevkpkf.jpg

Metallic Eubranchus rustyus photo Eubranchus rustyus 700 DSC_9930_zpswdhsod0c.jpg

Simnia snails can be tough to spot. Their mantle color and pattern matches the stems of red gorgonian upon which they feed and lay eggs.
Simnia snail pair photo Simnia snails br DSC_9897_zpsrpj3k9ed.jpg

Simnia hanging down photo Simnia snails DSC_9896_zps4wtgslcf.jpg

Simnia snail pair photo Simnia snails DSC_9891_zpsq6rf0jkf.jpg

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