Science: Nudibranch

Welcome, Playmate.

Have you washed your science cap from last time? This time is Pokemon Nudibranch-time!

The internet loves a nudibranch.Nudibranch comes from two latin words meaning “naked gills.” They are mollusks that shed their shells early on because they developed other defenses. Some developed crazy shapes, colours and textures to fit into their surroundings, some did the opposite and developed aposematic colouration: the use of bright colours to warn predators they are poisonous. Some do have poison, by eating poisonous plants and storing the poison in their teeny tiny bodies.

This one looks like an enemy from Final Fantasy.

All nudibranches are carnivores, some are even cannibals! They eat sponges, and sea slugs and eggs. The guy above us is pretty cool/deadly. She can grow up to 3cm and eats the siphonophorae (invertibrates that live in colonies that look like jellyfish eg. Portuguese Man o’ War). What our nudibranch does is take a deep breath to float, clings upside-down to the surface film of water, finds a siphonophorae and, if its small enough, swallows it whole.

While like Pokemon in looks, unlike Pokemon nudibranch are very small. They range from 20 to 600 millimeters. Also unlike Pokemon, nudibranch have many many more than 600 species, there are more like 3000 species of nudibranch.

Catch ’em all?

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3 thoughts on “Science: Nudibranch

  1. Would one catch in a nudiball? What funny ere fellas. Interesting they only get to 3cm. That’s a whole world smaller than a bottle cap!

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