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Nudibranchs are some of the oceans' most diverse species, and can be found nearly everywhere. once you see a nudibranch, it is almost certain that you will never miss another of these wonderful, diverse species ever again.

With the abundance of life available to observe beneath the surface of the sea, it can be all too easy to overlook the smaller inhabitants of coral reefs and other ocean habitat. But once you see a nudibranch, it is almost certain that you will never miss another of these wonderful, diverse species ever again.

The Glaucus atlanticus Nudibranch

Photo Credit: tarotastic

Nudibranchs what are they?

The nudibranch is often mistaken for a sea slug, with which it shares many similarities, but in fact, many species of sea slugs descend from an entirely different group that are not at all related to nudibranchs.

Nudibranchs form their own taxonomic clade of marine gastropod mollusks, who differ from other mollusks in that they eschew their shells once the larval stage is complete. Known for their bright color and pattern variations, they can be seen in virtually all seas worldwide, although a shallow, warm reef habitat is preferred.

They can vary in size from half an inch to 24 inches, and the protruding tentacles on their heads are sensitive to touch, taste, and smell. The nudibranch has poor eyesight, often only able to discern the difference between light and dark.

Nudibranchs are carnivorous creatures.

Nudis feed on sponges, anemones, barnacles, sea slugs, hydroids (creatures related to jellyfish), and on rare occasions, their own eggs and even other nudibranchs.

Venomous nematocysts from hydroids do not have a lethal or dangerous effect on the nudibranch; instead of digesting the toxins, it passes through their gut to the surface of their skin, to provide a means of defense against predators. Tactics such as this have enabled the nudibranch to evolve beyond the need for the protective shell that is typical of mollusks.

Nudibranches are Awesome!

Photo Credit: alfonsator

Colorful Nudibranchs

Their bold colors and unusual patterns lend themselves to further defense of the nudibranch, as many species of fish and birds associate their flashy appearance with other marine creatures that have left a bad taste in their mouths. Surprisingly, the bizarre color and pattern formations can do much to camouflage the nudibranch from predators in the reef.

Would you like to go dive and find Nudibranches? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer dive packages + accommodation and scuba lessons too.

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Blog written by: Rutger Thole and his team work full time to create a platform where divers can go to if they are looking for anything scuba related. It started with a simple blog who knows where it ends. The team is dedicated to make a change within the dusty old scuba industry. Scuba is cool and sexy, you better believe it!

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