Colourful Nudibranchs from the Temperate Mediterranean

Richard AspinallBy Richard Aspinall 4 years agoNo Comments

alonissos-sep15-45
Having shared some pictures of ‘tropical-looking’ fish from the Mediterranean recently, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite group of invertebrates: the nudibranchs.

Nudibranchs can become a source of obsession for underwater photographers.  And once you start collecting your own images of these often bizarrely-colored and shaped animals, you’ll understand why they are so entrancing.

These five species are some of the most common in the Mediterranean:

corfu-06-53-purple-nudibranch
The first is a very common species found across the Med. Flabellina affinis feeds on hydroids and reaches up to two inches in length.  It is easily confused with F. pedata (pictured below), though the latter has white tips on its projections.  This specimen was photographed in the cold murky waters off the East Coast of the UK.

Advertisement


rca_2836

Another common species, also found in UK waters, isJanolus cristatus, the aptly named Crystal Tips; it’s a nudibranch that seems to reflect and refract light.

rca_2830

rca_0104
A smaller, yet remarkably colored animal, that is often found in the shallows by snorkelers isThuridilla hopei This is a sacoglossan animal, commonly known as a ‘sap sucker’ – it survives by sucking out the contents of algae.  Some of its relatives retain stolen chloroplasts from their food source, and have a green coloration as a result.

alonissos-sep15-88

The final animal is one I shot at over forty meters deep within an amazing colony of azooxanthellate gorgonians.  I believe that this animal isFacelina auriculata.  The head is on the right.

Categories:
  Invertebrates, Photography
Richard Aspinall
About

 Richard Aspinall

  (430 articles)

Richard lives in Scotland where he works as a freelance writer and photographer. Richard writes for several magazines on topics as diverse as scuba diving, travel and wildlife.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.