1. Ichthyic says

    Something about that just says, “Eat me!” ;)

    weird, because most of them are aposematically colored in order to engender the exact opposite reaction from potential predators.

    most of them are in fact, toxic to most predators (Navanax – another kind of nudibranch more closely related to bubble snails – excluded).

  2. says

    It’s demanding that I upgrade my Flash player. Screw it. When did showing pictures demand something so complicated? National Geographic, this is the IMG tag. IMG tag, this is National Geographic.

  3. Ichthyic says

    National Geographic, this is the IMG tag. IMG tag, this is National Geographic.

    meh, it’s just a cheap-ass way for them to do the “slide show” style without having to do any javascript or php coding.

    btw, if you didn’t see the “slide show” bar tab, you might have to load it in the same window (just click the link, not try to load it in a new window).

  4. says

    Awesome pics.
    David Doubilet did some really amazing camera work there.

    Oh! Wait a minute! There, on the back of the Jorunna funebris. It’s the face of Jeebus!

  5. MAJeff, OM says

    Now if we can only get hermaphroditic marriage recognized…

    In Massachusetts and California it is. In striking down the marriage restrictions they did, both state Supreme Courts made it possible for people of intermediate sexes, and transgender folks as well, to marry.

  6. Avekid says

    Those are some gorgeous specimens. Wow!

    Cool. I must not have read the stuff on the CA decision very carefully because I missed its recognition of transgendered folks too. Finally, the “T” is back in “GLBT”. That really is a groundbreaking decision!

  7. TheWireMonkey says


    Can you imagine how fabulous a nudibranch wedding would be!

    Actually, Chromodoris does sort of look like a bridesmaid dress I was forced to wear once…

  8. MAJeff, OM says

    Cool. I must not have read the stuff on the CA decision very carefully because I missed its recognition of transgendered folks too. Finally, the “T” is back in “GLBT”. That really is a groundbreaking decision!

    They didn’t name T people in the decision. They struck down gender restrictions. The redistribution to Trans folks took place without a specific legal recognition of them.

    As I said in the thread below, the Court based its ruling on the right of the individual to choose a marriage partner, striking down laws that set gender restrictions in place.

    That’s another reason I think the CA decision is stronger than MAs. In the argument itself, it located the right in the individual and said that gender was irrelevant.

    Does that make sense?

  9. says

    This must be the first time I’ve every seen a photo gallery of nudibranchs without one of them being a Spanish Dancer.

  10. lytefoot says

    come on PZ, hotlinking is NOT cool…

    What? It’s a link. He’s not hotlinking the photo, y’know, he stored a copy on his own server–it’s just that the photo is also a link. Do you object to the deep link? Is this some strange new rule of etiquette I wasn’t previously aware of?

  11. dwarf zebu says

    If the ones in my garden looked like those, I’d be less inclined to kill them.

    They are still mollusks, right?

  12. Inky says

    Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous.
    And, I wonder how many of those toxins may have medicinal or lab benchwork value?

  13. Longtime Lurker says

    Simply gorgeous, thanks for giving us a respite from the stuff that “angries up the blood”.

  14. says

    Hate to throw cold water, but photographically these things are oversharpened and oversaturated. The photographer used Photoshop with an unusually heavy hand: he should be called the Thomas Kincade of nature photography.

  15. says

    Shit, I thought those were fabric toys at first.
    Posted by: MAJeff, OM

    Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one. They are absolutely beautiful. I see things like this and think I should have listened to my mother and gone into a career in marine biology.

  16. Ichthyic says

    And, I wonder how many of those toxins may have medicinal or lab benchwork value?

    you are right to suspect such:

    (there is a TON of work on the biomedical value of chemicals from marine invertebrates and algae done at Scripps Insitute, btw.)

    Specifically though, it appears that the largest value of nudibranchs has been that they tend to concentrate the toxins of the things they feed on, which has lead to discoveries of the value of many chemicals from sponges for example.

  17. Avekid says


    I only skimmed the comments in the thread below and I must have missed that one. Having gone back to it, now it definitely makes sense. Thanks. =)

    I like the shift of emphasis to the right to choose. It makes sense, but it’s still incredible that that kind of decision passed. That really is something to celebrate.

  18. craig says

    Man, if I had any talent whatsoever I’d sew up or crochet up a buncha those thingies and sell them on etsy.

    They are perfect for plush toys.

  19. Jan says

    completly off topic but found no better place:
    The Agenda (nice show on TV Ontario) had a nice discussion about scienctific research under attack


    From the blog:
    The proposal, led by Prof. Brian Alters and titled ” Detrimental Effects of Popularizing Anti-Evolutions’s “Intelligent Design Theory” on Canadian Students, Teachers, Parents, Administrators and Policymakers,” was denied funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

    What was surprising, was the reason for the denial. In a letter, the SSHRC responded:

    “The committee found that the candidates were qualified. However, it judged the proposal did not adequately substantiate the premise that the popularizing of Intelligent Design Theory had detrimental effects on Canadian students, teachers, parents and policy makers. Nor did the committee consider that there was adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of Evolution, and not Intelligent Design theory, was correct. It was not convinced, therefore, that research based on these assumptions would yield objective results. In addition, the committee found that the research plans were insufficiently elaborated to allow for an informed evaluation of their merit.”
    What do you think of this response and tonight’s show?

    not only in the US of A….

  20. says

    You’re so flamboyant
    The way you look
    It gets you so much attention

    Gorgeous. I saw some of these beasties in a video of my brother and sister-in-law’s scuba diving off the coast of… the Philippines, I think. Called them “drag queen slugs”.

  21. says

    Wow! At first glance, I thought the first piccie was a hand-painted tabletop miniature, maybe some kind of Tyrannid eater. The second one, Halgerda batangas, makes me think of shoggoths, and Flabellina exoptata looks like someone should be ecstatically shouting Ia! Ia PZ! Ia Shub-slimey!

  22. wright says

    Great Cthulhu! Such bizarre beauty! Some of those look like they’d be right at home in a Burgess Shale diorama…

  23. says

    It reminds me of the nudibranch I caught in Florida during a marine biology field trip. Unfortunately, the tank my professor set up to keep our specimens alive got clogged with sand overnight and every single specimen was dead when we came in the next morning. She was a decent lady, just terrible in the practical set up of an aquarium. Lesson learned. Kind of.

  24. Jeanette Garcia says

    Gorgeous pictures. . .

    As long as slugs stay in the sea they are perfectly alright by me, but if they should venture, on their trails of slime, into my garden to dine – on my hostas, no less, I say DIE, DIE, DIE.

  25. John Kelley says

    This has made my week. I love nudibranchs.

    My partner and I frequently saw these Nembrotha last fall when diving in Malaysian Borneo. There are actually two color variations of the same species — the one shown with green stripes, and another with green spots.

  26. says

    God how I love these little critters.

    Unfortunately, they are a real pain to keep alive and happy in captivity. They either have really picky, specific diets (and often of sponges or corals which would be very expensive) or are super sensitive to water quality, or, even barring all that, just don’t live very long or reproduce very successfully in closed systems.

    As is often the case, there are a few that can survive decently in captivity… and those are the notorious pest species like the Montipora eaters. :)

  27. Jams says

    Slightly OT…

    Ben Stein was on “The Hour”, a CBC (Canadian sponsored) prime time “news” show tonight.

    That’s fine, except that the same show introduced Christopher Hitchens on the topic of his book “God Is Not Great”, as being a particularly “controversial figure”, while Stein was portrayed as a good man of conscious who, in spite of his relationship with Nixon, was a stand-up guy who’s brought much needed light to the every-so-important theory of creationism. Kid gloves with the god guy, hell fire for the rationalist.

    What a bunch of douches.

    Wait, I mean… what a bunch of brainless Catholic douches (according to the host’s advertised idiotic leaning). After all, we can generalize about these sorts of things.

  28. valor says

    Am I the only one who got a weird “I’ve had that nightmare” sensation when they described how one of them eats algae alive and then farms them under its own skin?

    Because that creeped me right the hell out.

  29. LP says

    Soooooo is those psychadelic slugs or something? I totally forgot 7th grade bio. :0/

    Whatever the case, they look frackin’ awesome.

  30. bastion says

    The Chromodoris looks like a little smiling kid wearing a big fancy hat. It’s just so so cute.

  31. bastion says

    Wish the nudibathers on most nudibeaches looked as beautiful as the nudibranchs do.

  32. Lynnai says

    #20 there is a spanish dancer, but it’s on page two of the gallery.

    Yes there is moer then one page! Glee!

  33. arghous says

    Don’t tell George Lucas — he’ll want to muck with Star Wars again.

  34. Niobe says

    Doubilet is the shit. You should see his split level work with stingrays. I wish I could capture 1/100th of what he does in my underwater photography but then the difference is probably a couple of thousand dollars in gear and a decade or two in experience.

  35. Patricia C. says

    WOOOOW! Thanks PZ! The colors are so vibrant. I’m printing these and taking them to my local scrapbooking store for page ideas. Peeerfect!
    Science is so much more beautiful than religion.
    The slugs in my garden have chomped my eggplants, cukes, and bok choy – they are getting Corry’s for supper tonight.

  36. Blind Squirrel FCD says

    Bad: Ya, I know what you mean about closed water systems. At the Environmental center where I worked, I had an open system. I could keep things alive that the Skidaway Marine Institute couldn’t. Sea jellies, Corals, You name it. I think our nudies were eating hydroids. But honestly, the worms were even cooler than the nudibranchs.

  37. says

    But hasn’t anybody else noticed the patterning on Jorunna Funebris (4 from the end)? The face of Christ, surely…

  38. Numad says


    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks The Hour is skewed in an ugly kind of way. At the end of the segment Ben Stein was all “all I want is the freedom to believe*!” and not a peep from The Host.

    *And ask biology teachers questions about physics and the Holocaust.

  39. Mathematician says

    Wow. We have an Animal Alphabet that uses a nudibranch for N, and I’m always getting asked about it. Small son is going to love these :-)

  40. melior says

    Shamelessly OT:

    You all remember Roy Zimmerman, he’s the man. If you are in the Houston area, consider coming out to see him perform at a benefit Saturday (and you’ll help support public radio too).

    Maybe he’ll play “My Conservative Girlfriend” that would be sweet.

  41. Confused says

    @27 – I spotted that too, it’s obvious on some of the ones on the white background. They’re pretty, but they’ve definitely been touched up.

  42. mikespeir says

    They do look like they’d be good in a salad…

    No, they look like candy!

    I think it’s time for breakfast.

  43. extatyzoma says

    i remember a few weeks ago reading a creationist comment that the platypus was too weird to have evolved……yes, you heard right, arguments from incredulity and general ignorance of biology rolled into one, just how does one define weird anyway? pathetic and demonstrative of the weakness of the creationist mind at understanding nature. Anyway hopefully that same person wont see these things or they might have ID meltdown.

    looking at these is almost like tripping, its makes me think ‘just how far can nature go??’.


  44. extatyzoma says

    some of teh genus names are excellent, Flabellina and cuthona! these deserve to be named after the cthulhu mythos gods, of course as there no others.

  45. Pablo says

    What’s the deal with scubadivers and nudibranches? When my wife was diving in Australia last year, the divemaster would basically jizz everytime they saw a nudibranch. She didn’t get it, either.

    I mean, it’s not like they are poison dart frogs or anything…:-)

  46. phantomreader42 says

    MaJeff @ #4:

    Shit, I thought those were fabric toys at first.

    Someone should definitely make toys like this.

    Ichthyic @ #35:

    … what would a sea slug have to say, I wonder?

    Well, a land slug would probably say “Hold the salt please”, but I’m not sure on the ocean-faring variety.

  47. Tim says

    If the plural of branch is spelled branches, shouldn’t the plural of nudibranch be nudibranches?

  48. DingoDave says

    Here’s a lovely video clip of a nudibranch species nicknamed the ‘Spanish Dancer’.
    This is the first nudibranch species I was ever introduced to as a child, so I guess I have a deep seated fondness for them.
    When you watch the clip you’ll see why they call it the Spanish Dancer.
    The musical accompanyment also certainly helps to enhance the mood.
    Just click on the link and enjoy.