Naked Gills

My favourite little bugs ever. I’ve seen divers wielding cameras go absolutely ballistic upon sighting a new Nudi. Nudibranchs are a huge order of opisthobranchs, creatures that have adapted to life underwater as carnivorous hunters that feed on smaller invertebrates. The name ‘nudibranch’ in Latin actually means naked gill, as they have no shells and have exposed gills on their backs. There are hundreds of different colours, shapes, sizes and flavours to see, but most are rather small and require a keen eye to photograph. Due to the immense diversity of Nudibranchs many of them don’t have their own names, so please allow me to make them up and hopefully they’ll stick for those of you Nudi enthusiasts out there.


This Sour Pineapple is one that I’ve seen most often, shifting its way along the sandy bottom or over seaweed, hovering up any small gastropods, bryozoans, hydroids and other succulent morsels to satisfy a sluggy-taste.  

Without a shell you wonder how most things wont snap these colourful jellies right up and make a decent snack out of them. Nudibranchs are toxic you see, making them rather distasteful to most things except each other (some species of larger nudibranch prey on smaller ones).


Nudibranchs’ various colours and patterns help warn predators of their toxic nature. what I think many photographers find attractive about them isn’t only their colour, but also their character. they seem like they have a personality and seeing them move and react to the world around them will convince you of this. 


Nudibranchs can inhabit most parts of the world’s oceans, from the warm waters of the tropics to much colder climbs, coming in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

When it comes to shooting them, due to their size using a macro converter is usually best unless you have a reasonably large specimen. Using the converter to pick up the minor details and slight colour changes on the mantle will make for a really yummy shot.





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