Nudibranchs: Beautiful Animals You Never Knew About

Nudibranchs are one of natures most exotic animals, true beauties, with over 3000 known species, it is a wonder more people have not heard of them.

The Nudibranch is one type of Sea Slug, noted for its’ beauty and.. well thats about it, because it isn’t even a sea creature that a lot of people are aware of. These are soft bodied creatures, with no bones to force them into one shape or another, and they come in a massive variety of colors, most of which are bright. They are basically mollusks without the benefits of having shells. In size they are relatively small, the largest getting no bigger than 12 inches, or 31centimeters at full size, most being smaller than 4 inches or 10 centimeters. Pronounce it “Nude – a – brank”

Chromodoris coi

This particular one looks a bit like a lovely pastry in a French Shop, however one only has to look in tidal pools to find these tiny creatures, although they can be found anywhere in the oceans, they often use their colors and textures to camouflage in the coral reefs. The tones and colors on this animals are remarkable.

Glaucus alanticus

These Nudibranchs look like something from an alien film, I mean seriously have you ever even considered that we had things like this alive on our planet? Because I really don’t think you did. You might say you did, but I doubt you did. You probably didn’t and just think you did. They feed on poisonous jelly fish and store the poison for their own use.

Hypselodoris bullocki

Like something out of a space cartoon, this animal is interesting in shape and color. I just love the way its’ tentacles are being swept backward, making it look like it is a little alien race car, but in fact the photo was taken against a strong current, which cause this charming appearance.

Nembrotha cristata

The colors on this particular critter are stunning, but so is this fact about them. They are hermaphrodites, being both male and female at the same time. They lay eggs and can fertilize themselves, but rarely do. Their lifespans vary, from one short month to about a year.

Phidiana indica

Although the photograph lacks the clarity of some of the other pictures, you can see how marvelous this animal is and admire it for the dainty appearance it has. One can imagine how small this animal is.
It is interesting to note as well that since they have no bones or shell, we have very little information on them in terms of evolution from the past.

Glossodoris atromarginata

Another one that looks like it could have come out of a French Pastry shop. I really like French Pastry, but I also like nudibranchs, although not suitable for eating. Now, you might be wondering what do they eat? As sweet and innocent as they appear, they are carnivores, as mentioned above, some even make a point of eating poisonous jelly fish. Occasionally they are canibalistic, but this is uncommon.

Ardeadoris egretta

This one is another beauty, almost translucent. Then again I have not seen what could be described as an ugly Nudibranch. I suppose these animals are lucky that their bodies are only soft tissue, otherwise man would surely have found a way to turn them into a wearable item.

Limacia cockerelli

This one looks a bit like a swimming lollipop stand, again this is not an animal most people would have thought already existed and probably would have figured it to be some alien creature from another world. The way these animals evolved to make them so diverse is a wonder unto itself.

Dirona albolineata

Well that covers my brief look at these wonderful animals that most people were not even aware of. If you live near the ocean I encourage you to poke around in the tidal pools and look for these little beings. When you do go looking for them consider this, there are already over 3000 identified species of Nudibranchs, but many more are being discovered daily, will you be the first to find a new species?

The first photograph, and the last two, were from Flickr, the others were from Wikimedia, you should check licensing agreements before reuse of any photos.

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95 Responses to “Nudibranchs: Beautiful Animals You Never Knew About”
  1. Glynis Smy Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    And I thought slugs were black and slimey! An interesting read with great pics, beautiful creatures.

  2. Rana Sinha Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Lovely creatures. Thanks for the informative article.

  3. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    beautiful slugs,thanks

  4. monkeipeg Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I appreciate nature but I have to say I’m disgusted.

  5. Emily Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Wow. Those are stunning!

  6. Mary Contrary Says...

    On November 6, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Now I won’t be able to put my feet down at the beach, I will have to float everywhere…Great article! Loved it!

  7. Lucas DiƩ Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 1:52 am

    this is just plain beautiful – what colours!

  8. Alvin Lim Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Very beautiful. Seems like most of these beautiful creatures live in the sea. :D Thanks for sharing.

  9. sassybrat Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 3:18 am

    God is very creative…

  10. Skippy Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Great photos of beautiful creatures. They taste awful though.

  11. Karelee Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 4:56 am

    Love the pictures… I also loved the way you put so much of your personality into your descritions of each of those beautiful creatures. It made it more interesting to read and not just look at the pictures..that’s what writing is all about. Thanks and keep writing.. love it!

  12. BC Doan Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Amazingly beautiful slugs..Great article!

  13. Helena Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Actually, I DID know that these existed. I’m a total geek for animals.

  14. catlord Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 6:17 am

    AWESOME! :)

  15. meiliken Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Would help though if many of the pictures weren’t photoshopped. Some are blatantly done in such a way they look cartoonish. Doubtless the creatures exist, but still, try making sure you have ALL real pictures, not just some.

  16. C Jordan Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 7:49 am


  17. eddiego65 Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Wow! These are really beautiful!

  18. Lost in Arizona Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I love nudibranchs! Wonderful article, and gorgeous pictures! :)

  19. M J katz Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Great article! I know you said we have very little information regarding the evolutionary process of these beautiful creatures but what DO we know of their past?

  20. Lauren Axelrod Says...

    On November 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    These are fantastic photo’s but some of them are photoshoped. I still like the artistry either way. Cool piece

  21. C Jayden Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 12:48 am

    See for more info.
    Its really too bad that some people don’t trust the images, unless the ‘blatantly photoshopped’ ones were removed, & I missed them. As a diver, underwater photographer & nudibranch fan I can say these are as real & colorful as I’ve seen them. (Of course the ‘white studio’ setting aside.)
    Nice article. See more pics at

  22. Colin Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Great article.

    Stunning photos.

  23. Darrin Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Between the stunning beauty and the great name of the nudibranchs, I have to admit that one’s my favorite. All of God’s creations are beautiful and these photos are a perfect example of how much of his beauty, is still out there for us to see. Thanks for posting these amazing photographs. They truly made me speechless.

  24. Unofre Pili Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Thank you for the Biology lesson. Very nice article.

  25. Louie Jerome Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Beautiful creatures. Excellent article.

  26. shaun simpson Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    great article, love the photos

  27. total oblitiration Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    amazing article, those animals are beautiful, i love these kind of articles. what i like the most about those animals is that they glow by themselves, thats amazing

  28. top Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    haha indica

  29. overwings Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I love them too. When I go diving I am always looking for them.

  30. Darlene McFarlane Says...

    On November 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    They are all amazing and so beautiful.

    Great article!

  31. Chambo Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Stunning pics accompanied by wonderful facts. Well done

  32. Merry Moore Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Wow, what a neat article. The photos were stunning, and I learned something!

  33. xoxo Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 6:19 am

    stunning pix. beautiful indeed.

  34. Ozzie Nazarah Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Besides being sluggish, it’s boring.

  35. Roy McKeef Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    these creatures are not beautiful, they are grotesque

  36. R J Evans Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I have to disagree with Roy! I think they are entrancing!

  37. Blues Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm


  38. Sophie Hasan Says...

    On November 9, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Beautiful, colorful, wonderful creatures!! Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures!

  39. tales2tell Says...

    On November 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Fascinating and beautiful. Thank you for the reminder there are so many creatures out there that we need to discover.

  40. lebflare Says...

    On November 11, 2008 at 5:16 am

    great photos, i dont recomend looking too closly or you might get out off. Non the less great work.

  41. Emma C S Says...

    On November 11, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Wow great article, and beautiful pictures! Such lovely colours!

  42. Blue Buttefly Says...

    On November 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Strange animals but beautifully photograph! Great article!

  43. LIGHTSTAR Says...

    On November 12, 2008 at 3:18 am

    very intresting and good pictures of nature

  44. Julie Kovacs Says...

    On November 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Beautiful sea life, thanks for sharing!

  45. Terri Lane Says...

    On November 13, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Who would have guessed such lovely creatures exist. If only the land ones were prettier…

  46. DVL Says...

    On November 14, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Nice Article :D my fave is the Nembrotha Cristata

  47. Brian James Says...

    On November 14, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Those are some crazy looking animals!

  48. Meg Says...

    On November 16, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I can’t believe someone had the nerve to say this was photoshopped. Some people truly are ignorant. Please, inform yourself and pick up a biology book. It will do the world a favor.

  49. hamishl Says...

    On November 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Why is it all about sea slugs? Why not different animals?

  50. Bruce Says...

    On November 17, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Great Job. This held my attention and took my mind off of the economy etc. for a short period.

  51. Bick Parker Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Very colourful creatures, along with a nice article. These slugs do resemble entities from another planet, and just to think that we humans share their DNA!

  52. Sotiris Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Nice photos!

  53. kids ribbert Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 8:23 am


  54. poo Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Great one, I never heard or knew about them thanks for sharing that.

  55. paul Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    the title of this insults my intelligence. didn’t any of you pay attention in 7th grade? yes. wow. neat post good for you. don’t assume that just cuz you just learned about something that nobody else had heard of it either, unless your target audience is mainly idiots

  56. paul Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    NONE of these pictures were photoshopped please people learn before you speak. pLEASE! i’ve been into zoology since i can remember. i saw pictures of these things in Attenbourough books when i was like 6, and those were in books published in the late 70’s!!!!!!!!! so please shut up seriously. you think you are smart, but you FAIL. zip it. just because you can’t wrap your little feeble brain around something new doesn’t make it fake. do a little research

  57. colette234 Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    That’s a lot of rage over some internet pictures. I don’t care if they might be photo-shopped, I was impressed anyway. Kudos to this guy for making his money on Triond.

  58. LIVING BY GRACE Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Beautiful creatures and so darn colorful. Excellent learning material and information organized beautifully as well.

    God Bless,

    Nelson Doyle

  59. Matt John Says...

    On November 18, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Beautiful info. Thanks for sharing with us.

  60. Catherine South Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Stunning! The colors of deep sea creatures never cease to amaze me.

  61. KcSkye Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Very cool.

  62. Lauren Axelrod Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Most pictures that are professionally done are sometimes tweaked a bit in the studio. That’s not to say that these are but, sometimes the most bizarre things in nature seem unbelievable. As far as reading a science book in the 70’s about this topic, I was born in 77 so I don’t think this was a topic of interest to me when I was an infant.

    Either way, a wonderfully unique piece.

  63. Akilah Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    wow so cool. I don’t get some of these peoples posts. but these are pretty cool animals. A note to the other posts: We are only human we can’t expect to know EVERY living creature on this planet. Just because there are pictures of animals you never seen before don’t mean they don’t exist. There are tons of animals out there us humans haven’t come in contact with. I’m not trying to sound rude or anything… just stating my opinion.

  64. Lisa Linthicum Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    My husband and I got very tickled about the hooded nudibranchs that we saw at the Seattle Aquarium in 1993. It’s been a running joke with us — your article brought back many happy memories for me of that trip as well reminded me about how marvelous these creatures are! Thanks!

  65. Brian James Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Those are truly beautiful.

  66. Tony Downing Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Absolutely awesome!

  67. Sher D Fly Says...

    On November 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Amazing photos. Well done!

  68. S A JOHNSON Says...

    On November 20, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Wow…I mean what more can I say! WOW…

  69. junie49 Says...

    On November 20, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Those pictures are awesome. I didn’t know that and always thought that slugs were a boring color. These are some very beautiful creatures. Thank you for posting this very interesting and informative article.

  70. Ave Yarrum Says...

    On November 20, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    How beautiful! As a scuba diver, I have seen some of these. Your explanations make my having viewed them even more special.

  71. Rebecca Roy Says...

    On November 20, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Wow, lovey creatures! I had never heard of them until I read your article! They are a wonder indeed.

  72. Sanna Says...

    On November 21, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Fun introduction to nudibranchs! Each one appears dressed up to attend a cocktail party. I *have* seen live ones at my local aquarium store, but it would be more fun to see them in the ocean.

  73. RJ Says...

    On November 22, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Although this is quite the page, I must tell you, and I think you know, that there is always unidentified sea-creatures. I could go an write a 20 page “Did you know” But it’ll be pointless because there will still be 10000 more unidentified creatures. How about land mammals? I will be writing an essay shortly on Mammals you didn’t know about, it makes more sense seeing as theres not 100 different new species a day. Anyways, no offense to you and I hope none is taken I just did not see full potential in this peive of writing. Check some of your info, it may not be accurate.

  74. Guinnevere Says...

    On November 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Once, long ago, there was a fascinating TV program about nudibranchs, and that was my introduction to the fact that such creatures exist.

    If memory serves, the documentary said that the animals don’t need shells, because they are extremely poisonous. Well, I don’t want to eat them, just look at them. But I would caution everyone who sees ANY unknown sea creature, to beware! No matter how beautiful it is, DON’T TOUCH IT! You might injure it, and for that matter, it might just hurt YOU.

    Thanks for posting these beautiful pictures.

  75. catlord Says...

    On November 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Gawd I can’t believe that sphincter said those are photoshop’d images. Every single one of these are REAL creatures.

  76. Jones Says...

    On November 23, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Wow I love ‘em all

  77. Fernando T. Says...

    On November 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Whoa, Nice article! Good Job. And all the pictures too, they are all very colorful!

  78. ThisGuy Says...

    On November 23, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Not trying to bust anyone’s balls, but sea slugs aren’t really animals. Cool looking blob type creatures though.

  79. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On November 23, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    to RJ (comment #73)
    My link was not written to suggest that a person should know about any individual TYPE or species of Nudibranch, just that as a whole, most people have not even heard the word “Nudibranch”, especially not landlocked “city people”.
    If anyone knows any account of unaccurate information – they should point out specifically what is inaccurate, rather that just say “check your info” which is rather vague.
    and Yes “thestickman” (comment #75) is right -these animals are real.

  80. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On November 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    also to ThisGuy (comment #78).. um.. yes they are Animals – they are infact INVERTIBRATE ANIMALS – if its a “creature” it is an animal – certainly not a “FISH” but definately not a “ROCK” or “PLANT”… it is an animal – they have body functions etc, of animals

  81. Kevin N Says...

    On November 24, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Ok, I gotta say it….about the “photoshopped” comments…one word….MORONS…..unless the ones in my 500 gallon reef tank are also “photoshopped”….

  82. r Says...

    On November 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    this article sucks it doesn’t say much but show pretty picures, for example what does the word nudibranch mean? Naked lungs or the ‘feathery things you see on their dorsal side. Seriously there so much cooler things about these creatures than just their beautiful color designs.

  83. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On November 30, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    to “r” yes.. the article does show pretty pictures, it is a simple link – that was the point of it – as you note I even said (at the bottom) this was a BRIEF LOOK – it was not written to be an indepth science lesson, however I do appreciate your additional point for anyone who is interested. Another cool point which I did not get into was how they took poison from jelly fish and use it to make a poison themselves.. but that is really another link in itself – don’t you think?

  84. Nils Says...

    On December 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    One of the words I never bothered to properly pronounce was these crazy little critters’ names.

    Oh, and for the “photoshopped” comments. It’s just a retarded thing that morons write to get a rise out of the readers who actually have lives outside of 4chan, so pay them no heed.

  85. kokodragon Says...

    On December 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    k i realy need some info about these creatures im doing a science report on them and its due on Tues. 16 HELP!!!!!!! ex. i need more stuf on the cerata- or fingerlike stuff. (thats basically all i know)

  86. kokodragon Says...

    On December 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    and the stuf about the photoshopped pics- ignore it all the pics are REAl just becuz you dont know about nudibranchs doesnt mean theyre a total fake so shut up and get some real info. And i still need help on that project.

  87. mary Says...

    On December 20, 2008 at 9:03 am

    tres belles images

  88. fidgety_sam Says...

    On January 13, 2009 at 11:33 am

    They sure are pretty; but I wouldn’t eat any of them!

  89. one_dangerous_banana_peel Says...

    On April 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    i am in a very lucky position to be an amature at studying these beautiful creatures. we actualy have two of them in our intertidal tanks at to college i go to. they really are amazing. most of the time they remind me of fireworks. that was a great article with some well taken pictures…thank you for sharing

  90. ~alli~!:):) Says...

    On July 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    o.m.g!! they are prettyer than me and my family!!!!:):) but not my neice!:):)hahahaha:)

  91. kool chic Says...

    On January 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    AWSOME!!!! But yet,GROSS!!!! Dont get me wrong there super cool but uhh….try to leave the pituful one out!!! THNX ! Oh,and hey people waz up!?CALL ME!!! rofl.

  92. WAT? Says...

    On January 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm


  93. Myla Halverson Says...

    On February 21, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Great article. They are all very beautiful!

  94. lol Says...

    On March 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    oh my god they are so pretty beutiful pictures and interresting.
    i love them.

  95. alvinwriter Says...

    On November 7, 2010 at 12:46 am

    These animals are really amazing!

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