There are many reasons why divers love nudibranch; they are found the world over, they are rewarding to find, they are one of the most varied species of marine life on the planet, they are excellent photography subjects AND they are somehow still a little bit mysterious. Do you really know your nudibranch? Here are 7 fun facts to fill you in!
- There are over 3,000 species of nudibranch and they are found in all of the world’s oceans. Nudibranch range in size from just a few millimetres to over 12 inches long. Their colours vary from dull browns and blacks to all number of fluorescent shades and psychedelic patterns.
- They might be bright but they don’t know it! Nudibranch can only see in shades of light and dark but not in colour. Instead of relying on their limited vision they detect the world through their rhinophores (the two horn-like appendages on their heads).
3. There are two main types of nudibranch – dorid and aeolid. Dorid nudibranch have two rhinophores plus a feathery looking set of gills on their backs (yes, those are gills!). Aeolid nudibranch also have rhinophores but their backs are covered with “cerata” finger like strands which are multi-functional, allowing the nudibranch to breath, digest and even defend itself.
4. Each nudibranch is male AND female! Nudibranch are hermaphrodites which means they have both male and female sex organs. Because some species are solitary in nature and they do not move so fast they need to be able to reproduce whenever the opportunity presents itself!
5. Nudibranch may be slow but they don’t hang around – most nudibranch only live for up to a maximum of one year, some only live for a few weeks.
6. Nudibranch can pack a punch – Aeolid nudibranch can store poison which they obtain from eating toxic prey, which makes them also highly toxic to marine predators. The good news is that they are harmless to humans.
7. Nudibranch can be solar powered! Some aeolid nudibranch eat algae found in coral and canabsorb the chloroplast from the algae and photosynthesise it – producing enough nutrients to sustain them for months!
So next time you see a Nudibranch take a closer look – they might be small but they are pretty impressive!
To see the full variety of species when you are diving in Bali check out our dive site info and discount packages and dive three different locations: Padang Bai, Nusa Penida and Tulamben. There’s so many to see!