More About Nudibranchs
The name, nudibranch, is derived from both Latin and Greek, the 'nudi' part meaning naked and the 'branch' (pronounced 'brank') meaning gills. This is because, in many types of nudibranch, the gills sit on top of its body, as illustrated in this picture of Hypselodoris:
The image below shows one of our favourites Nudis, Chromodoris Joshi, who can be found in the shallow coral regions around Indonesia and the Philippines:
Check out the beautiful vivid golden colours of this dude! In the background you can see the naked gills we mentioned and, in the foreground you see two rhinophores-let's call that her nose! Or his nose if you prefer, doesn't really matter as nudibranchs are hermaphrodite which means, without wanting to get personal, they're both boy and girl simultaneously.
And here you can see two nudibranchs spending a little time with each other; maybe we should just leave them to it...
It might look like this young lady is knitting a nice beige scarf, she’s a actually laying a ribbon of eggs :
There have been more than 3000 recorded species of nudibranchs identified from oceans all over the planet and new species are being described all the time. One of the reasons for their stunning colours and patterns is attributed to a phenomenon called 'Aposematic Coloration’. Many animals which are very distasteful or maybe even poisonous to eat, have bright colour patterns which are believed to be a warning to potential predators to keep away. It has been shown that nudibranchs have specialised glands that contain poisons and distasteful chemicals which have been safely ingested from the sponges they feed on and that, by making the connection between bright colours and bad tastes, marine predators learn to leave them alone.
If you want to know more about the amazing world of nudibranchs, there are dozens of websites devoted to the study and observation of these beautiful creatures, not to mention thousands of pictures posted by passionate nudi lovers!