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Nudibranch - The Toxic Rainbows Of The Sea

Updated on October 22, 2014

A Nude What?

Nudibranch, think "NEW-dih-bronk", are soft-bodied mollusks and are related to snails and slugs. However Nudibranches do not have shells.The word "nudibranch" comes from the Latin nudus, naked, and the Greek brankhia, gills in reference to the exposed branch-like gills found on many of them. Nudibranchs are found in oceans around the world. Their means of defence are camouflage, toxic secretions or stinging cells. The rainbow of bright colours that many wear is a warning to predators that they are in for a mouthful of bad news!.

Blind? No Problem

Nudibranch have very small eyes that only sense light and dark so they are basically blind. However that is not a problem because of their horn-like protrusions called rhinophores. They use them to taste, smell and feel the ocean around them. They detect chemicals that tell the Nudibranch everything it needs to know, like where food is and where other Nudibranchs are.

Photo by: Christopher Bradford

Nudibranch Feeding

Nudibranches are carnivores and many are able to eat what other sea creatures can't. Sea creatures that contain stinging toxins, like the anenome or soft corals, are eaten by the nudibranchs which then converts or use the toxins for it's own defence.

Nudibranch Eating Nudibranch!

Some Nudibranch are cannibals! They will eat other smaller Nudibranch and sometimes even their own species.

**WARNING: Not for the squeamish! **

How Many Nudibranch Does it take to Change a Lightbulb?

Okay, maybe they can't change a lightbulb, but some of them act like solar cells! Some Nudibranchs contain a type of algae in their transparent bodies, which when exposed to sunlight produce nutrients which the Nudibrach then uses for energy!

What On Earth?

"These bright and colorful natural history picks are highly recommended for elementary-level readers in grades 2-4: bright color photos and captivating facts encourage learning."

~ Scientific American

Colorful Nudibranch, Nembrotha Species

Nudibranchs come in incredible variety of colours and patterns. Blue with yellow dots, green

and black, red and purple,

white with yellow accents, the list goes on and on. Suffice it

to say that if you can imagine it, there's probably a

Nudibranch to fit the bill.

Blue with Yellow Spots Nudibranch or Sea Slug, Phyllidia Varicosa, Solomon Islands

Nudibranchs from Japan

California Nudibranches

Pyjama Nudibranch or Sea Slug in the Red Sea, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt

Nudibranch by Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel Cousteau

So You Think You Can Dance?

The Sex Life of The Nudibranch - Adults Only!

Nudibranch are hemaphrodites which means they possess both male and female sex organs. This means they can mate with any other nudibranch of their species.

Nudibranch Poll

What Do You Think Of Nudibranchs?

See results

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    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Amazing, colorful creatures and great lens!! :)

    • olecrAN0N LM profile image

      olecrAN0N LM 5 years ago

      Nudibranchs are tiny, living jewels of the sea. Thank you for the lens.

    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 6 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • MyFairLadyah2 profile image

      MyFairLadyah2 6 years ago

      I love your lens. Thanks for making it.

      The creatures are beautiful; there's no faking it

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Absolutely gorgeous creatures. Love your collection here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      thank you these are exquisite!!!

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 8 years ago

      What unusual and colorful creatures. It's amazing how many distinctly different creatures share the sea. 5*

    • RickBasset profile image

      RickBasset 8 years ago

      Thank you everyone for your kind comments!



    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

      Beautiful and informative lens. Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • profile image

      MikeMac 8 years ago

      Very cool stuff. thanks

    • Bradshaw LM profile image

      Bradshaw LM 8 years ago

      Excellent lens! The sheer variety in the colours of these sea creatures is incredible. I've never heard of them before and found your descriptions and images equally facinating.

    • LaurieKristensen profile image

      LaurieKristensen 8 years ago

      You learn something new every day (they say)... and today, THIS is it for me! LOL, thanks for this, the pics are amazing! ~ Laurie