Wednesday, May 14, 2008


No, these are not some smutty photos of sticks without bark, these are the marvelous wondrous Nudibranchs (pronounced nudi branks). The word "nudibranch" comes from the Latin nudus, naked, and the Greek brankhia, gills. So the Romans, after a little wine and undersea sport, must have concluded that they were some sort of naked fish. No wonder Rome burned! These are gastropod mollusks: a type of sea slug.

Normally, I'm not much of a slug or snail man. Snails in my garden usually get the boot (as in squish) or are tossed over the fence onto the golf course (long story). There are great debates about snails, especially in gardens, but the nudibranchs are more like Slugs of the Sea.

These nudibranchs are downright beautiful with eye popping color. True to form, National Geographic has a brilliant slide show of the weird and colorful little guys, entitled Living Color. They're carnivorous and will pretty much will eat whatever they can get their hands, um, appendages on including others of their kind.

Oh, did I mention that they are toxic? Enjoy!

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