The Nudibranch Craze May 29 2015
Nudibranchs (pronounced Noodi-brank) are a group of soft-bodied marine gastropod mollusks which shed their shells after their larval stage. They are noted and identified for their often extraordinary colours and striking forms.
13 Interesting Facts:
- Nudibranchs have shells that are lost in the larval stage.
- They also have tentacles on their head that helps them smell, taste and get around.
- Eye-looking tentacles called 'rhinophores' on their heads help them smell their food and they can retract them when threatened.
- There are over 3,000 species of Nudibranch. Sized from a few mm to 12" and can weigh up to 3 pounds.
- There are 2 types: 1) Dorid - which breathe through gills on their posterior (back) end. 2) Eolid - which have finger-like open-ages which cover their back (cerata) and have many functions, including breathing digestion and defense.
- Nudibranchs have a foot and leave a slimy trail.
- Nudibranchs have poor vision.
- They eat colourful food, which gives them their colour.
- They are toxic to prey but not to humans.
- Some create their own food by eating coral with algae, they then absorb the algae chloroplast into the cerata where they photosynthesis using the sun.
- Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites to maximize their chances of maternity.
- Nudibranchs have a short life span, some up to a year and some only a few weeks.
- Nudibranchs are what they eat. If they eat a mouthful of poisonous sponge of sea anemone stingers instead of getting sick or dying, they safely store these poisons in their own body until something eats it then the poison is released.
In Cape Town we may not have whale sharks, turtles and manta rays as you would in most fair weather diving locations but we do have nudibranchs that might just change your diving forever. Often I find myself missing all the big stuff thanks to these little guys as their display of colour combined with its form can blow your mind. They are easily identified and named accordingly and often leads to very obvious names like 'Gas flame' nudibranch with some exceptions like our rare and notorious 'Mandela' nudibranch found along the Atlantic seaboard and often we spot them at sights closest to Robbin Island.
We are honouring these unique tiny creates of the Cape Peninsula waters and will be holding a 'Nudi Competition'.
Just post your best shot into the 'Nudi Competition Album' on the Adrenalised Diving Facebook page. Remember to put your name on your shot.
To post your photo click here
The photo that receives the most 'likes' will win the competition and receive a R500 gift voucher.
* Competition closes 31 July 2015