Reef Stories

menu-to-close-2

Nudibranchs

Phanerobranch Dorids

Phanerobranch Dorid Nudibranchs



Index

Sea Slugs



Side-Gilled

Side-Gilled Slugs

Umbrella Shells

Umbrella Shells

Head-shield Slugs

Head-shield Slugs

Pteropods

Pteropods

Sap-Sucking Slugs

Sap-Sucking Slugs

Sea Hares

Sea Hares

Nudibranchs



Phanerobranch Dorids

Side-Gilled Slugs

Cryptobranch Discodorids

Cryptobranch Discodorids

Cryptobranch Chromodorids

Cryptobranch Chromodorids

Radula-less Dorids

Radula-less Dorids

Arminids

Arminids

Dendronotids

Sap-Sucking Slugs

Aeolids

Aeolids

Spanish Dancers, Thecacera, the often brightly coloured Nembrotha species, the huge Banana Slugs (Aegiris) and the predatory Gymnodoris are some of the genera in this nudibranch group

Spanish Dancers



Spanish Dancers are up to 60 cm long, mostly bright scarlet, sponge-feeding nudibranchs. The mantle is usually folded over towards the middle of the body forming a protected area often occupied by Emperor Shrimps. The covered area is brightly coloured, and when the animal feels threatened the mantle folds can be suddenly unfurled to flash the colour warning. They are good swimmers, an ability they use to find new feeding groups and to escape predators. The egg masses are also red and the ribbons folded and pleated, giving the appearance of a flamenco dress. Together with the elegant and flambouyant movements while swimming, earned them the name Spanish Dancer.

Hexabranchus  sp. - juvenile
Hexabranchus  sp. - juvenile
Hexabranchus sanguineus
Hexabranchus sanguineus eggs
Hexabranchus sanguineus
Hexabranchus sanguineus - warning flash
Hexabranchus sanguineus - warning flash

Polyceridae



Thecacera is the emost commonly encountered member of this family. They all appear to feed on bryozans and can sometimes be seen in small groups on a bryozoan colony. The non-retractile gills sit between two "horns" of unknown function, other than being a way to protect the gills. The rhinophones are protected by well-developed sheaths.

Thecacera pacifica
Thecacera pacifica
Thecacera pacifica swept awy by strong current
Thecacera cf. picta
Thecacera picta
Thecacera sp. 8 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Thecacera sp. 8 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Thecacera sp. 8 feeding on bryozoans (Gosliner et al. 2018)

Nembrothinae



The ascidean eating genus Nembrotha, bryozoan eating Tambja and the canabalistic Roboastra belong to this group. The neon oranged marked Nembrotha kubaryana is the best known of these relatively large and colourful nudibranchs. As with all the Polyceridae, their gills are non-retractable.

Nembrotha chamberlaini
Nembrotha chamberlaini with Xenopontonia imperator
Nembrotha cristata feeding on ascidians
Nembrotha kubaryana feeding on ascidians
Nembrotha kubaryana
Nembrotha lineolata
Nembrotha lineolata mating
Nembrotha cf. mullineri feeding on a tunicate
Nembrotha cf. mullineri mating
Nembrotha milleri
Nembrotha sp. 1 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Nembrotha sp. 1 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Robastra gracilis mating
Tambja gabrielae "sniffing" the current
Tambja kava
Tambja cf. limaciformis
Tambja morosa
Tambja morosa "sniffing" the current
Tambja sp. laying eggs
Tambja sp. laying eggs

Goniodorididae



Goniodoris, Goniodoridella, Okenia and Trapania are all morphologically very distinctive, often with a distinctive mantle edge, and long or short surface papillae or other appendages. These small nudibranchs feed mostly on bryozoans, ascidians or on whatever lives on the surface of some sponges.

Okenia brunneomaculata
Okenia rhinorma
Okenia sp.?
Okenia sp.
Okenia sp. eggs
Trapania cf. gibbera
Trapania toddi
Trapania reticulata
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.

Aegires



The sponge-feeding Aegires species fall visually into two groups. There are the relatively small species with many papillae or tubercules (e.g. Aegeres villosus), and the large species like the Banana Nudibranch Aegires minor. Large appendages protect the non-retractable gills of this group.

Aegires citrinus
Aegires gardineri
Aegires gardineri
Aegires gardineri with eggs
Aegires minor with eggs
Aegires sp. 7 on Preicharax sp.
Aegires serenae
Aegires villosa
Aegires cf. villosa

Gymnodoris



There are two visually distinct groups in Gymnodoris; large species mostly with almost flat to hemispherical tubercles with a colour distince from the body, e.g. Gymnodoris rubropapulosa; and small species with muted colours. All seem to feed on other nudibranchs, except G. nigricolor which feeds on the fins of partner gobies.

Gymnodoris aurita
Gymnodoris citrina
Gymnodoris nigricolor
Gymnodoris nigricolor feeding on a partner goby
Gymnodoris rubropapulosa mating
Gymnodoris cf. rubropapulosa
Gymnodoris sp. 45 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Gymnodoris sp.

Help Save Reefs!



The organisations that work to protect coral reefs and our oceans need as much support as they can get. Check out:

If you are a diver, and especially if you are an underwater photographer, donate. If you do nothing, there will be nothing to dive on and nothing to photograph.

These are suggestions, but not endorsements of the suggested organisations. It is your responsibility to review and check the charities you wish to donate to.

Spanish Dancers

Spanish Dancers

Spanish Dancers are up to 60 cm long, mostly bright scarlet, sponge-feeding nudibranchs. The mantle is usually folded over towards the middle of the body forming a protected area often occupied by Emperor Shrimps. The covered area is brightly coloured, and when the animal feels threatened the mantle folds can be suddenly unfurled to flash the colour warning. They are good swimmers, an ability they use to find new feeding groups and to escape predators. The egg masses are also red and the ribbons folded and pleated, giving the appearance of a flamenco dress. Together with the elegant and flambouyant movements while swimming, earned them the name Spanish Dancer.

Hexabranchus  sp. - juvenile
Hexabranchus  sp. - juvenile
Hexabranchus sanguineus
Hexabranchus sanguineus eggs
Hexabranchus sanguineus
Hexabranchus sanguineus - warning flash
Hexabranchus sanguineus

Polyceridae

Polyceridae

Thecacera is the emost commonly encountered member of this family. They all appear to feed on bryozans and can sometimes be seen in small groups on a bryozoan colony. The non-retractile gills sit between two "horns" of unknown function, other than being a way to protect the gills. The rhinophones are protected by well-developed sheaths.

Thecacera pacifica
Thecacera pacifica
Thecacera pacifica swept awy by strong current
Thecacera cf. picta
Thecacera picta
Thecacera sp. 8 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Thecacera sp. 8 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Thecacera sp. 8 feeding on bryozoans (Gosliner et al. 20

Nembrothinae

Nembrothinae

The ascidean eating genus Nembrotha, bryozoan eating Tambja and the canabalistic Roboastra belong to this group. The neon oranged marked Nembrotha kubaryana is the best known of these relatively large and colourful nudibranchs. As with all the Polyceridae, their gills are non-retractable.

Nembrotha chamberlaini
Nembrotha chamberlaini with Xenopontonia imperator
Nembrotha cristata mating
Nembrotha kubaryana
Nembrotha kubaryana
Nembrotha lineolata
Nembrotha lineolata mating
Nembrotha cf, mullineri feeding on a tunicate
Nembrotha cf. mullineri mating
Nembrotha milleri
Nembrotha sp. 1 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Nembrotha sp. 1 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Robastra gracilis mating
Tambja gabrielae "sniffing" the current
Tambja kava
Tambja cf. limaciformis
Tambja morosa
Tambja morosa "sniffing" the current
Tambja sp. laying eggs
Tambja sp. laying eggs

Goniodorididae

Goniodorididae

Goniodoris, Goniodoridella, Okenia and Trapania are all morphologically very distinctive, often with a distinctive mantle edge, and long or short surface papillae or other appendages. These small nudibranchs feed mostly on bryozoans, ascidians or on whatever lives on the surface of some sponges.

Okenia brunneomaculata
Okenia rhinorma
Okenia sp.?
Okenia sp.
Okenia sp. eggs
Trapania cf. gibbera
Trapania toddi
Trapania reticulata
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.
Trapania sp.

Aegires

Aegires

The sponge-feeding Aegires species fall visually into two groups. There are the relatively small species with many papillae or tubercules (e.g. Aegeres villosus), and the large species like the Banana Nudibranch Aegires minor. Large appendages protect the non-retractable gills of this group.

Aegires citrinus
Aegires gardineri
Aegires gardineri
Aegires gardineri with eggs
Aegires minor with eggs
Aegires sp. 7 on Preicharax sp.
Aegires serenae
Aegires villosa
Aegires cf. villosa

Gymnodoris

Gymnodoris

There are two visually distinct groups in Gymnodoris; large species mostly with almost flat to hemispherical tubercles with a colour distince from the body, e.g. Gymnodoris rubropapulosa; and small species with muted colours. All seem to feed on other nudibranchs, except G. nigricolor which feeds on the fins of partner gobies.

Gymnodoris aurita
Gymnodoris citrina
Gymnodoris nigricolor
Gymnodoris nigricolor feeding on a partner goby
Gymnodoris rubropapulosa mating
Gymnodoris cf. rubropapulosa
Gymnodoris sp. 45 (Gosliner et al. 2018)
Gymnodoris sp.