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Nudibranchs

10 Colorful Facts About These Sea Slugs

Thursday, March 28, 2019 written and photographed by Mika Miller


Nudibranchs (pronounced noo-duh-branks) are colorful sea slugs that can be found in oceans all over the world! Read on to learn 10 cool facts about these amazing sea creatures.

1. The name nudibranch comes from the Latin word nudus, meaning naked, and the Greek word brankhia, meaning gills. This refers to the gills and gill-like appendages that stick out of the backs of many nudibranchs.

 

2. There are over 3,000 species of nudibranch, with new species still being discovered! We have four species at the Aquarium: Yellow-edged cadlina, Sea clown nudibranch, Lemon nudibranch, and Ring-spotted doris.

 

3. Nudibranchs get their coloration from the food they eat. They feast mostly on sponges, coral, anemones, and barnacles.

 

4. The two “horns” on the top of a nudibranch’s head are called rhinophores. These are chemical receptors that allow them to find food and mates.

 

5. Nudibranchs have a foot! They move around using a flat, broad muscle on their underside called a foot.

 

6. Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic, meaning that they have both male and female reproductive organs.

 

7. Some nudibranchs are poisonous. They extract poisonous chemicals from their prey, like toxic sponges.

 

8. There are two main species types of nudibranchs, dorid and eolid. Dorid species have gills at their back end, whereas eolid species have finger-like tentacles covering their back.

 

9. Nudibranchs can only see in shades of light and dark and cannot see color.

 

10. These colorful sea slugs can range in size from a few millimeters in length to 12 inches long and can weigh up to three pounds!

Visit some of these amazing nudibranchs in our Ocean Explorer habitat!

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