A Nudibranch to Know

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Nudibranch (Nudibranchia) or simply called nudi in diving community are wonderful creatures, with odd shapes and vibrant colors one can’t miss them as it crawls on soft or hard corals among the reefs. They are lovely to behold and if you are sensitive on micro and subtle critters, these animals are exceptional.

Here are few facts I gathered about this lovely animal:

  • There are over 3000 identified species of nudi, it would take too wide and long to encounter them all
  • They are color blind or generally have poor vision and can only distinguish dark or light lumination
  • Nudis are hermaphroditic, which means capacitated with both male & female reproductive organs. Being solitary in nature, it needs to maximize their mating ability for reproduction
  • It has very short life span, it can only live not more than one year so there is no chance to encounter the same nudi in the next dive
  • They got their colors from their food, it has the ability to absorb and incorporate the tint & shade of their prey into their tissues such as anemones or sponges
  • Generally, it’s not for human consumption – often referred to as “butterfly of the ocean” due to vivid vibrant color and their intense toxicity – generally their loud color is a warning sign!

I love nudis and my dive won’t be complete if I don’t find one, I would conclude that the particular reef lacks the necessary as habitat for the critters and so not healthy. And I would reflect that perhaps I went too fast not to notice if there was one.  With more than 3000 species, one can imagine how vast and mysterious our ocean can be!

Two in One

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Just one of those rare moments while in depths, sighted randomly these colorful nudibranch on top of each other in Banaug Shoal, Mantangale

It’s one of those sea slug that catches one’s attention due to its striking appearance. The background color is a rich pinkish purple with a white border to the mantle. At the edge of the mantle the border is solid white but inside this is a region of varying width in which the white forms a reticulate pattern gradually merging in to the pinkish purple. The rhinophore stalks and the base of the gills is an intense purple, the rhinophore clubs and the gills are orange yellow.

It was mating season I guess, but that was the first time I witnessed this marine critter in such rare intimate moment!  Hypselodoris apolegma is its binomial name, a specie of a dorid nudibranch.