Living Gemstone

Dendrodoris denisoni (Dendrodoris gemmacea)

Gem nudibranches (Gem doris, Dendrodoris gemmacea, D. denisoni) look like real living gems. Yet they don’t live in warm clear tropical seas, they are happy with temperate, quite often murky waters. If you live in Auckland, you don’t have to travel far away. Actually you don’t have to travel at all. I usually observe and photograph them in silty bays of North Shore City.

My favourite place is Browns Bay beach, especially in winter (late July-August). On a calm sunny winter day at high tide water is cold (~13 oC which isn’t really cold) but can be surprisingly clear … I’ve experienced up to 6 metres of visibility. I know it’s not much but people who know Browns Bay can have literally zero visibility, usually don’t believe me there can be such a clear water there. If you go for a dive on such day you can find these living gemstones scattered everywhere crawling flat reef covered with short dusty algae. It’s shallow there, usually 4-5 meters is enough which means plenty of time. Cold, not low air will chase you out of water.

Stock Photo: Gem doris (nudibranch) Dendrodoris gemmacea (D. dennisoni)

Keywords: Dendrodoris denisoni gemmacea “Dendrodoris denisoni” “Dendrodoris gemmacea” nudibranch slug “sea slug” underwater undersea Pacific “Pacific ocean” gem “Gem nudibranch” nudibranchia doris “gem doris”