Nudibranchs are colorful and often poisonous members of the mollusc family. They
mostly feed on soft corals and stinging hydroids, thus picking up the toxic chemicals
that make them an unpleasant meal. They usually have exposed feathery breathing
gills at the back (nudibranch means naked gill) and horn like rhinophores at the
front. Slow moving but annoyingly difficut to photograph.
The Tulamben area is renowned for its variety of nudibranch species. Villa Markisa
mounts Nudibranch and Seaslug educational courses, taught by experts (of which I
am not one).
A couple of weeks before we arrived, some hard core nudibranch experts were there
for two weeks, diving four times a day and identified over four hundred different
kinds. We didn't do as well but were very pleased with the great variety we did get.
Also, all of ours were actually visible to the eye, not miniscule sand grain size.
Although a few of them toward the end of this gallery were not exactly monsters.
Many thanks to Christiane Waldrich at Villa Markisa for providing correct
identification of these. Christiane has probably seen more nudibranchs than we have
had hot meals. When we were Tulamben in 2012 she was the "fixer upper" for myself
and others on nudibranch identifications.
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