Acanthodoris lutea
MacFarland, 1925

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Onchidorididae


Duxbury Reef, Marin County, California, USA. Photo: Ian Tait

This striking acanthodorid, with its orange to red orange dorsum speckled with lemon yellow flecks, reaches 30 mm in length (Behrens, 1991; personal observations) and ranges from Cape Arago, Oregon (Goddard, 1997) to northern Baja California, Mexico (Farmer, 1967). It releases a distinct odor of sandlewood when handled, and Morris et al. (1980) report that Acanthodoris lutea “secretes a material toxic to other animals confined in the same container.” Like its congeners, A. nanaimoensis and A. rhodoceras, A. lutea feeds on the fleshy encrusting ctenostome bryozoan, Alcyonidium sp. (Goddard, 1998). Its mode of larval development is unknown.

• Behrens, D.W. (1991) Pacific Coast Nudibranchs. Sea Challengers: Monterey, California.
• Farmer, W. (1967) Notes on the Opisthobranchia of Baja California, Mexico, with range extensions – II. The Veliger, 9: 340-342.
• Goddard, J.H.R. (1997) Range extensions of eight northeastern Pacific nudibranchs. Opisthobranch Newsletter, 23: 13.
• Goddard, J.H.R. (1998) A summary of the prey of nudibranch mollusks from Cape Arago, Oregon. Opisthobranch Newsletter, 24: 11-14.
• MacFarland, F. M. (1925) The Acanthodorididae of the California coast. Nautilus, 39(2): 49-65.
• MacFarland, F. M. (1926) The Acanthodorididae of the California coast. Nautilus, 39(3): 94-103, pls. 2-3.
• Morris, R.H., D.P. Abbott & E.C. Haderlie (1980) Intertidal Invertebrates of California. Stanford University Press: Stanford, California.

Authorship details
Goddard, J., 2003 (January 12) Acanthodoris lutea MacFarland, 1925. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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