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Underwater Photography 1 – Nudibranchs – I never knew that slugs could be so beautiful!

Title image: Spanish dancer nudibranch (genus Hexabranchus), among the largest of tropical marine slugs, is potently chemically defended. Image ©David Doubilet

Nudibranchs are found all over the oceans of the world from the tropics to the arctics. There are about 2,300 known species, the majority of which live on the ocean floor, though there are a few which swim and even a few which dwell just below the ocean’s surface.

Their range in shape and colour is simply mesmerising.

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Image ©Mauro Mainardi

These wondrous creatures are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female reproductive organs, though they cannot fertilise their own eggs.

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Image ©Jennifer Hayes

Defence mechanisms range from mimicry to camouflage acidic skin and straight toxicity.

Nudibranchs range in size from 4mm to 600mm in length. They do have eyes though they can only discern between light and dark.

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Image ©Mauro Mainardi

There was one recently discovered at over 8,000 ft deep.

Entirely carnivorous, Nudibranchs have been observed to eat eggs, other seafloor dwelling creatures and are known to be cannibalistic.

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Image ©Salvatore Ianniello

The array of colours, shapes and sizes provides a wonderful subject matter to the Underwater Photographer.

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Image ©Jackie Hildering. Shot in British Columbia, Canada

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Image ©Diana Pabloojian. Shot in Tulamben, Bali

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Image©Luc Rooman. Shot in Gulen, Norway

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Image ©Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez. Shot in the Canary Islands, Spain

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Image ©So Yat Wai. Shot in Tulamben, Indonesia

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Image ©Yury Ivanov. Shot in Tulamben, Bali

All Rights Reserved. No unauthorised reproduction of this post in whole or in part is permitted without the express written consent of the author

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