The life of a Nudibranch @ Lembongan island
A Nudibranch is a tiny creature that is part of our underwater community here in Lembongan. It is often missed by majority divers who only look for “big stuff” such as Manta, Molas, Rays, Shark, etc. you can also discover on our video channel. However, if you are after this tiny creature, Lembongan is the right place for it!
What is a Nudibranch?
Nudibranchs or we often call it “sea slug” is a group of soft bodied and immensely colorful mollusks. The word Nudibranch comes from Latin; “nudus” means naked and “branchia” means gill or lung. The word itself can be translated literally as “naked-gills” or even “naked lungs” because their breathing apparatus is generally exposed.
Nudibranchs vary in adult sizes but most of the times they are relatively small about 4-600 millimeters. However, they can also get big up to 50 centimeters such as Spanish Dancer. This name is given after their swimming styles make them like a flamenco skirt flapping around.
The Nudibranch unveiled!
This beautiful creature can be found anywhere in the world including in the tropics and Southern Ocean. However, the greatest diversity of a Nudibranch is mostly seen in shallow reefs. Here around scuba diving paradise Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida we see them all the time. And this is one of the reasons these islands are so famous in the Coral Triangle of Indonesia.
They are famous for their extraordinary colors and forms underwater. Contrasting pigments make them highly visible against the brown and green corals underwater. This color actually a visual alarm to turn predators wary. Some of the Nudibranch are well known to posses chemical defenses which means it tastes “yucky” or it can be intoxicated when ingested by their predators.Their bright colors is equivalent of yelling “ Stay away from me! Don’t you eat me! I am poisonous!”
Like we often hear “the more beautiful it looks, the more dangerous it is”.
Unfortunately, nudibranchs are blinded to their own beauty. Eyes in nudibranch is very simple and only able discern no more than light and dark. The eyes are set into their body and consist of a lens and photoreceptors only. Therefore they are very good at other sensors; they have organ called rhinophores- head-mounted sensory appendages and oral tentacles to smell, taste, and feel their world.
Cool facts about the Nudibranch
In terms of productivity, Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic in other words they have both organ male and female and they can fertilize one another but not inseminate themselves. Depending on the species, pairs might lay eggs in coils, ribbons, or tangled clumps, up to two million at a time.
There are more than 3000 species of known Nudibranchs in the ocean yet there are still many more to be identified or even discovered!
Last but not least! The Nudibranch have a flat, broad muscle called a foot, which leaves a slimy trail. Nudibranchs are mostly found on the ocean floor, but some can swim short distances in the water column by flexing their muscles.
Come and find the Nudibranch with us at Lembongan!
Now that we know more about this cute little creature, I hope that its beauty will interest you to look for them thoroughly while scuba diving with us in Lembongan! Happy hunting!
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