Nudibranch Facts, Diet, characteristics, behavior, habitat, life cycle

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About Nudibranch

Nudibranch is a soft-bodied, marine gastropod molluscs which shed their shells after their larval stage. They are noted for their often unique colors and striking forms, and they have been given colorful nicknames like as splendid, dancer, marigold, clown, dragon, and marigold. There are about 3000 known species of Nudibranchs. These are often called sea slugs as well because of they are family of opisthobranchs, with the phylum Mollusca (mollusks), but many of the sea slugs belong to the several taxonomic groups which are not even closely related to nudibranchs.

The species is one of the groups which are informally known as sea slugs. This is a term which includes other gastropod groups which look similar to nudibranchs. Sea slug is an informal term, not a monophyletic group. The body forms of nudibranch vary greatly. They are opisthobranchs, a clade which shed their shells after the larval stage. The color, size and body form may differ with the variety in the regions. There are many things which are yet to be studied.

Nudibranch Population

There are more than 3000 nudibranch species is known, and still, more are being identified almost daily. They are found throughout the world’s oceans, but these are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters. They have the scientific name, Nudibranchia, which means naked gills, and describes the feathery gills and horns that mostly wear on their backs.

Nudibranch Characteristics

The species is mostly found in the oblong shape, these can be thick or flattened, long or short, drab or ornately colored to match their surroundings. They can grow as small as 0.15 inches to 23 inches in length. They have the simple eyes which able to discern little more than light and dark. The eyes are set into the body, are about a quarter of a millimeter in diameter, and consist of a lens and five photoreceptors.

Behavior of Nudibranch

They are carnivores that slowly ply their range grazing on algae, sponges, anemones, corals, barnacles, and even other nudibranchs. To identify prey, they have two highly sensitive tentacles, known as rhinophores, located on their heads. Nudibranch gets their coloring from the food they eat, which helps in camouflage, and some even retain the foul-tasting poisons of their prey and secrete them as a defense against predators. These are simultaneous hermaphrodites and can mate with any other mature member of their species. Their lifespan varies widely, with some living less than a month, and others living up to one year.

Diet of Nudibranch

The species is carnivorous that eat using a radula, so their prey including sponges, coral, hydroids, anemones, fish eggs, sea slugs, barnacles, and other nudibranchs as well. Nudibranch is picky eaters-individual species or families of nudibranchs may eat only one kind of prey. These get the bright colors from the food they eat. These colors may be used for camouflage or to warn predators to the poison that lies within. The food that they eat is responsible for their bright skin color.

Nudibranch Habitat

Nudibranch often found in seas worldwide, ranging from the Arctic, through tropical and temperate regions, to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. They are almost entirely restricted to salt water, although a few species are known from low salinities in brackish water. These are mostly found in all level of depths of water, from the intertidal zone to the depth more than 700m. The large diversity of species is seen in warm, shallow reefs. These are benthic animals, found crawling over the substrate.

Interesting Facts of Nudibranch

  • Nudibranchs are gastropods in the Phylum Mollusca.
  • The species are sea slugs.
  • There are more than 3000 species of Nudibranch exists.
  • There are two primary types of Nudibranchs.
  • These are a foot and slimy tail.
  • These have poor vision.
  • The species is colorful and get these colors through food.
  • A few species of nudibranchs may be toxic.
  • Some nudibranchs species get the nutrients from the sunlight.
  • These have the short lifespan about 1 year.

Nudibranch Reproduction

Nudibranch is known as simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means that they possess both male and female sex organs. However, unlike many other hermaphroditic animals, do not self-fertilize. Instead, they can mate with any other species of nudibranch in order to reproduce. The pair of mating nudibranch usually fertilized each other’s eggs.

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