NUDIBRANCHS

Butterflies of the Seas

A big part of my work is dedicated to sea slugs and flatworms, the butterflies of the seas.
What do butterflies and slugs have in common? Well on land, not much. But take a trip underwater with us into sandy bays or rocky coastlines, mudflats and coral reefs and you will be amazed at the delicate beauty of the over 3.000 species of sea slugs already discovered. Found in every color of the rainbow, sea slugs have names that match their looks. Imagine what the Spanish Dancer, the Persian Carpet Flatworm, the Funeral Jorunna, the Much-Desired Flabellina or Rose Petal Bubble must look like? Sea slugs even seem to flutter as ocean currents sweep over their soft, fragile bodies.

COSTASIELLA KUROSHIMAE

I can see the end of my world... Costasiella kuroshimae is a species of sacoglossan sea slug, a shell-less marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Costasiellidae. It has the ability to incorporate chloroplasts from the algae it feeds on into its body and use them to do photosynthesis. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

TRINCHESIA ACINOSA

The body of the nudibranch is white. They have very long yellow /orange cerata and extremely long rhinophores. It feeds on hydrozoa polyps. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

JANOLUS SP

What's a dot more or less? These nudibranchs have a translucent body with purple, white and brown dots. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

PHYLLIDIA BABAI

Phyllidia babai is a species of sea slug, a dorid nudibranch, a shell-less marine gastropod mollusk in the family Phyllidiidae. The specific name babai is in honor of the Japanese malacologist Kikutaro Baba. This nudibranch has a cream to light yellow coloured dorsum with white tubercles in the center of black rings and the mantle finely edged in yellow. This species feeds on the yellow sponge, Acanthella stipata. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

HALGERDA OKINAWA

Beautiful contrast of colours on this nudibranch that can grow up to 15cm. This one was about 4cm. They feed on sponges. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

TRAPANIA MILTABRANCHA

This goniodorid nudibranch has a complicated colour pattern. The body is a mosaic of brown patches which contain white spots, interspersed with orange. The rhinophores, lateral papillae and gills are cream with brown patches. Trapania miltabrancha feeds on Entoprocta which often grow on sponges, algae and other living substrata. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

DOTO USSI

Doto ussi is a species of sea slug, a dendronotid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Dotidae. This species was described from the Comoros Islands, in the Indian Ocean. It has subsequently been reported from the Philippines and Indonesia. They are found on colonies of the stinging hydroid, Aglaophenia cupressina (family Aglaopheniidae), on which it presumably feeds. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

TRINCHESIA SP

Trinchesia is a genus of sea slugs, aeolid nudibranchsin the family Trinchesiidae. They feed on hydroids. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

COSTASIELLA KUROSHIMAE

Let's see if the grass is greener on the other side... species of sacoglossan sea slug, a shell-less marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Costasiellidae. It has the ability to incorporate chloroplasts from the algae it feeds on into its body and use them to do photosynthesis. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

DORISMATICA ATROMARGINATA

Ranges in colour from creamy-white through yellow to pale brown. It typically has a black-lined edge running down the outside of a very folded mantle and black rhinophore clubs. The frilly mantle sometimes appears to move like a wave as the animal crawls along. It can reach a total length of at least 60 mm. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

PHYLLODESMIUM PINNATUM

Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines

MIAMIRA ALLENI

When it was first described, the author, Terry Gosliner, mentioned its similarity to a xeniid soft coral and suggested it was probably a defensive camouflage strategy to protect it from predators. The photos show the similarity to a soft coral with polyps retracted, very well. They decided that discretion is the better strategy, but they still store distasteful chemicals in their skin - just in case their camouflage fails. Found in Anilao, South Luzon Philippines.

JORUNNA FUNEBRIS

Just a bit of colour, not too much... First time I was able to shoot a photo where this slug was showing its mouth. Its mantle is covered in small spiculate papillae (caryophyllidia) which are characteristic of that genus. Jorunna funebris is a sponge feeder. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines

DENDRONOTUS REGIUS

This is a small species of Dendronotus, growing to a maximum size of 30 mm. The body is translucent white with a surface tinged with milky white to pink. The tips of the dorsal appendages and rhinophore sheath processes are dark brown and there are rounded spots of the same colour scattered over the back and sides of the body. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines

THECACERA PICTA

Found singly, pairs or groups, out in the open during the day on coral and rocky reefs. Length – 15mm. Found in Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

JANOLUS FLAVOANULATUS

The purple-tipped janolus, is a colorful sea slug, an arminina (a suborder of Janolus) nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Proctonotidae. The body and caruncle of this species are yellow with a hue of light orange. The papillae and cerata are also this colour except for the tips, which are blue/purple, hence the common name. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines

GONIOBRANCHUS PRECIOSUS

Goniobranchus preciosus has a white mantle with three lines of colour at the edge. The mantle rim is marked by a thin white line, with a dark red band inside this and then a yellow band. The body length varies between 15 mm and 30 mm. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines

GONIOBRANCHUS RETICULATUS

There is considerable disagreement amongst experts over the identity of Goniobranchus reticulatus. The length of the body reaches 100 mm. A number of similar species are thought to occur within the Goniobranchus tinctorius colour group. The species is hermaphroditic, with both male and female organs active at the same time. After mating, the external portion of the penis detaches, but is able to regrow within 24 hours. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

CHROMODORIS MAGNIFICA

Chromodoris magnifica can reach a maximum size of 5 cm length. The body is elongate with a foot which is distinct from the upper body by a skirt like mantle hiding partially the foot. The branched gills and the rhinophores are orange colour and can be withdraw in specific pockets under the skin in case of danger. The specific epithet magnifica in Chromodoris magnifica means magnificent, so-named because of this nudibranch's striking, vibrant colors. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

HYPSELODORIS TRYONI

Hypselodoris tryoni has a brown body and white foot. The body and upper dorsum are covered in purple spots ringed with white or light-brown. The gills are typically translucent white or light-brown and the rhinophores are brown to dark-brown and covered in circular white lines. It has a thin blue or purple line on the mantle edge. There is some colour variation between individuals. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

GLOSSODORIS CINCTA

Glossodoris cincta has a mottled brown body. Its gills and rhinophores are also brown. Both the edge of its heavily indented mantle and its foot are lined with an outer blue, middle black and an inner yellow line. There is some variation in this edge coloring with distribution. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

CERATOSOMA TRILOBATUM

Can grow to a maximum size of 15 cm. The body coloration is extremely variable but is always composed of bright colors. A specificity of the species is the kind of "horn" covering the gills, which is like a lure and acts as a defensive chemical weapon that will scare any potential predator who dares to bite this part. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

PTERAEOLIDIA SEMPERI COMPLEX

Like a train of flowers. The body color of this species is translucent tan, but the cerata, which vary from dark purple to lavender to golden brown, give the nudibranch most of its distinct color, green specimens are not uncommon. Roseate displayed cerata full of symbiotic zooxanthellae fanned out to absorb as much sunlight as possible. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

MARIONIA SP

Bushy jungle strolling over the sand. Marionia is a genus of sea slugs, specifically dendronotid nudibranchs, marine gastropod molluscs in the family Tritoniidae. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

DOTO USSI

This dendronotid nudibranch is mostly uniform yellow to pale olive-brown in colour. Doto ussi is found on colonies of the stinging hydroid, Aglaophenia cupressina (family Aglaopheniidae), on which it presumably feeds. Many other species of Doto also feed on hydroids of the family Aglaopheniidae and the other families in the superfamily Plumularioidea. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

PHYLLODESMIUM CRYPTICUM

As its name suggests, Phyllodesmium crypticum is a very cryptic species, well-camouflaged amongst the colonies of the soft-coral Xenia in which it lives and on which it feeds. This is another of the many species of aeolid which store zooxanthellae from their food, presumably obtaining nourishment when they photosynthesise. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

JORUNNA FUNEBRIS

Its mantle is covered in small spiculate papillae, which are characteristic of that genus. The most common color form has the rings occupying about one-quarter of the area of the mantle. There are specimens occasionally where the rings are reduced in size so the mantle is almost pure white, whilst other specimens had the rings on the mantle so large that they virtually coalesced. J. funebris is a sponge feeder. Nuweiba, Gulf of Aqaba, Egypt.

GYMNODORIS IMPUDICA

Also known as red-papulose gymnodoris. Bright white with almost fluo orange spots. They feed on other slugs swallowing them whole, tail first. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

CHROMODORIS JOSHI

Chromodoris joshi is a species of sea slug. It is a dorid nudibranch, a shell-less marine gastropod mollusk in the family Chromodorididae. Reaching 60 mm in length, Chromodoris joshi is yellow with three black stripes on its mantle. The marginal band fades from dark golden yellow at the edge, to a buttery yellow. It is covered with white flecks. The rhinophores and gills are a pumpkin orange. Sabang, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines.

FELIMARE PICTA

Felimare picta lives in rocky seabeds throughout the Mediterranean Sea (Greece), European waters (Spain, Portugal), the Eastern North Atlantic Ocean (Azores) and the Gulf of Mexico. This nudibranch grows to about 20 cm (8 inches) long and feeds on various sponges. Beirut, Lebanon.

GONIOBRANCHUS ALBOPUNCTATUS

White-spotted goniobranchus. Considerable variation in mantle colour from red to yellow, but in all cases there is a pattern of white spots and and rings and a pale blue border. In all specimens the ubderside of the mantle and all the body and foot are bright yellow. Grows to 3cm or more. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

MEXICHROMIS PUSILLA

Mantle of Mexichromis pusilla is pale pink with a broad cream-white or yellowish band at the edge. There is an elongate white streak in the midline between the rhinophores and another in front of the gills. Mexichromis pusilla is characterized by the varying width of the cream band at the mantle margin, besides the two white streaks in the midline is it very thin, between the gills and the rhinophores is it very broad, giving the appearance of a waist. Sabang, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental.

HYPSELODORIS KRAKATOA

It was named to recognize the similarity between the Indonesian volcano, Krakatoa, that exploded on August 26, 1883, and the volcano-like shape of the gill sheath which is elevated from the rest of the notum, and the gills resembling the huge cataclysmic eruption of smoke and burning lava reaching into the sky. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

ARDEADORIS EGRETTA

Ardeadoris egretta is a species of sea slug, a dorid nudibranch, a shell-less marine gastropod mollusc in the family Chromodorididae. It is the type species of the genus Ardeadoris. It occurs in the Indian Ocean and the tropical Western Pacific in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.This white slug with a yellow border grows to a length of about 12 cm. Sabang, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines.

JORUNNA PARVA

Bristly Jorunna. The background coloration is yellow-orange to dark brown with scattered black caryophyllidia. The rhinophores have a black club with light yellow base. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

THECACERA PICTA

Found singly, pairs or groups, out in the open during the day on coral and rocky reefs. Length - 2cm. Anilao, South Luzon, Philippines.

ELYSIA MARGINATA

The animal is usually a translucent green color with a black parapodial margin and a submarginal yellow or orange band. Black tips on the rhinophores. Also numerous black and white dots all over the body. Pale or olive green body, up to 5 cm long, with black and white speckles and a black and orange edging to the parapodia, usually repeated at the tips of the rhinophores, sometimes separated by a white line. Feeds on the green algae Bryopsis. Beirut, Lebanon.

MEXICHROMIS MULTITUBERCULATA

Mexichromis multituberculata is characterized by having numerous purple-tipped large tuberculeson the white body. Around the mantle edge are usually bluish-purple patches, in some specimens are these patches reddish or orange. The rhinophores and the gills are basal white, the upper half is bluish-purple. Sabang, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines.

CADLINELLA ORNATISSIMA

Ornate cadlinella is easily recognized by the pink-tipped tubercules on its dorsum. It has a characteristic pattern of single-celled, flask-shaped and compound mantle glands. Sabang, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines.

PHYLLIDIA RUEPPELII

Dorsum blue-white with thick black lines tapering towards the yellow-orange mantle margin, uniformly scattered tubercles with a large yellow apex, rounded in profile with a circular white base; usually tubercles at mantle margin yellow-orange with white semicircles; rhinophores yellow-orange, oral tentacles conical, yellow-orange at tips with short lateral grooves; ventral anus located posteriorly. Nuweiba, Gulf of Aqaba, Egypt.

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