“___ ON ___”: Nudibranchs

“___ ON ___”: Nudibranchs


In this series we’ll be hearing from a new person each month, talking on a specific topic of their choosing – something they love, a hobby, an interest, a thread they’ve been feeling lately, or a new discovery

Beneath the glistening waves of our oceans lies a world of wonder and intrigue, inhabited by creatures that could easily pass as intricate works of art or beings imagined for a science fiction story. These mesmerizing marine creatures, often likened to fantastical extraterrestrial beings, boast an astounding array of colors, shapes, and behaviors that make them seem like they stepped right out of an otherworldly tale.

Nudibranchs are technically sea slugs, in the phylum of mollusks. However, they appear to look more celestial and otherworldly than any standard imagery that comes to mind when one thinks of ‘sea slugs.’ 

Imagine wandering into an alien landscape where neon hues are the norm, where beings flaunt extravagant frills, feathery appendages, and spine-covered forms that wouldn’t be out of place in a cosmic dream. There are 3,000 species identified thus far. One of the most striking facets of these marine anomalies is their secret weapon: stolen poisons. Nudibranchs are masters of biochemical piracy, extracting toxins from their prey—stinging creatures like sponges and anemones—and repurposing these venoms for their own defense. In a world where survival demands creativity, nudibranchs have turned thievery into a remarkable and effective adaptation.

As Nudibranchs glide across coral reefs and rocky crevices, they contribute to the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. Their voracious appetites for sponges and other small invertebrates help control populations and maintain the intricate harmony of the underwater world. The mere presence of these beguiling creatures challenges our perception of reality, offering a glimpse into the wonders that exist just below the surface—an experience that’s as fascinating as any science fiction tale, and yet, delightfully real.