Nudibranchs

0 Conversations

Nudibranchs are amazing. They are possibly the most amazing creatures you are likely to encounter. That's if you happen to be under water.

Nudibranchs are marine gastropod molluscs. They belong to the same family as your garden-variety slug, having no shell at maturity. This is why they are often called sea slugs.

The word 'nudibranch' literally translates to 'naked gills' because their gills are located on their back or along the side of their body. Nudibranchs inhabit marine environments ranging from the cold waters of the arctic, to the warm waters of the tropics. Their primary mode of propulsion, like other gastropods, is the single foot extending the entire length of their body. Other species like Hexabranchus sanguineus (Spanish dancer) use their magnificently coloured mantle to both propel themselves through the water and also to startle predators.

Nudibranchs are carnivores. They feed on other soft-bodied sea creatures including soft-corals, anemones and sponges. It is from these tasty morsels that they extract toxins and the amazing colours that decorate their bodies. The colours and toxins form part of the nudibranch defense system. The toxins being used as poisons or in stinging cells, and the colours to warn predators or to blend in with surroundings.

To feed, the nudibranch has a few options. Some use their mouth, others use their cerata; finger like protrusions which are extensions of their digestive systems. The cerata may also contain stinging sells and, in some cases, are used for breathing. A few species harbour green algae inside their bodies to provide them with food. The algae, in-turn, obtain its energy from the sun, making this nudibranch species solar powered.

Nudibranchs are both male and female (simultaneous hermaphrodites), possessing both sperm and eggs. They exchange these with another of the species in a process that may take seconds or a whole day, depending on the species. Both then go their separate ways to lay swarms of eggs, which ultimately hatch to become the amazing creatures known as nudibranchs.

Bookmark on your Personal Space


Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry

Entry

A334784

Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry


Written and Edited by

Disclaimer

h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more