Aeolid Nudibranch

© Johan Boshoff

Name

Aeolid Nudibranch (Aeolidina)

Alias

Sea slug

Size

Nudibranchs can measure up to 15 cm in length.

Identification

Nudibranchs have slim bodies with finger-like protrusions named cerata, extending at different lengths. Their rhinophores are long with oral tentacles located just below them. These creatures vary in colour from light grey or white to bright blue and orange.

General Information

Nudibranchs are a part of the Aeolidina suborder, which falls under Opisthobranchia. Nudibranchs, meaning ‘naked gills’. They can move rather fast. Their reproductive organs are located at the right side of their necks, and pockets of sperms are carried over from the male to the female. The eggs are laid in a mucous matrix, or spawn ribbons. Aeilids collect nematocyst, or stinging cells, from the hydroids they consume and store them in the cerata for defence.

Diet

Nudibranchs feed on soft corals, sponges, anemones and hydroids.

Distribution

Aeolid Nudibranch can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans across the world.

Common Species

Dragon nudibranch (Bornella anguilla)
Spanish shawl (Flabellina iodinea)
Aeolid sp (Pteraeolidia ianthina)

© Johan Boshoff