Each year more than 15,000 people visit the Kodiak Laboratory.
One of the biggest attractions is our 3,500-gallon aquarium and touch tank.
Join us as we take our website visitors on a virtual tour to meet some of the unique and fascinating animals that live in our giant ocean tank.
Each month we will highlight a different marine species from invertebrates such as crabs or mollusks to sea stars (echinoderms) and fish.
Meet the yellow rimmed nudibranch
Spring has sprung here in Kodiak, and to celebrate the season we are showcasing one of our most unique touch tank critters: the Yellow Rimmed Nudibranch!
A nudibranch (pronounced nü-də-ˌbraŋk) is classified as a mollusk, and other mollusks include slugs, snails, mussels, and octopuses. This creature has an oval shaped body with a yellow margin outlining it. It also has rounded yellow bumps that cover its entire mantle, or top part of the body. The mantle serves as a covering for the foot, which is the large muscle on the underside of the nudibranch that it uses to move. This nudibranch has yellow raised bumps all over its dorsal side as well as two comb like antennae. These antennae are called rhinophores, and are used as smell or taste receptors. The rhinophores can detect small amounts of chemicals in the water and allow for the nudibranchs to find mates and stay close to their food source. These organs are extremely valuable, so if threatened, this creature can withdraw the antennae into a pocket beneath their skin for protection.
The Yellow Rimmed Nudibranch lives in the Pacific Ocean, from Alaska to Mexico. It can be found at a wide variety of depths, from the intertidal zone to about 70 feet below the surface. Sponges are its primary food source and its main predators are sea stars. The Yellow rimmed nudi (for short) feeds using a radula, which is similar to a tongue. The radula is lined with hooked teeth, which it uses to scrape along sponges and pick up particles to ingest. These nudibranchs are small (generally between 2-5 inches long) but are some of the most unique organisms to find. Next time you’re out tide pooling on the pacific coast look closely and you might spot a yellow rimmed nudibranch!