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Nudibranchs of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Gary, David, Julie and Terry


We note the publication of recent scientific research regarding the Flabellinidae family by Korshunova et al, (2017). As this research potentially affects a large number of species, we have elected not to update the website with name changes at this point in time, pending comments on the publication from the wider scientific community.

Korshunova T, Martynov A, Bakken T, Evertsen J, Fletcher K, Mudianta WI, Saito H, Lundin K, Schrödl M, Picton B (2017) Polyphyly of the traditional family Flabellinidae affects a major group of Nudibranchia: aeolidacean taxonomic reassessment with descriptions of several new families, genera, and species (Mollusca, Gastropoda). ZooKeys 717: 1-139.

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Remarkable Rhinophores


Hypselodoris obscura

When you don't possess true eyes to recognise the shape of things or to see where you're going then you must certainly have some other highly developed sense to survive. Living in a medium that has thousands of different compounds dissolved in it, a virtual soup of chemicals, released either intentionally or just as a byproduct of existence by every living thing, has led the nudibranchs to evolve extremely sensitive organs of smell - the rhinophores. The rhinophores enable the nudibranch to navigate life by locating food, a mate and avoiding predators.


In this image we can see the detail of the rhinophores of Hypselodoris obscura. Four things are immediately obvious:
- they are located right at the anterior or leading end of the animal to immediately detect approaching signals.
- there are two of them, so the incoming chemical cues can be read in "stereo" to assist in direction-finding.
- they can be individually rotated to better aid that direction-finding; notice in this photo at that moment in time, the closer has rotated 90 degrees to the right of the nudibranch's axis while the other has only rotated 45 degrees.
- they consist of many leaflets or lamellae up their length. This greatly increases efficiency/sensitivity by providing a larger surface area for the testing of the water flowing over them.


For an animal like the nudibranch that is slow moving in all types of water clarity, highly functioning eyes would be nowhere near as much of an asset as long range chemical detectors like rhinophores.



Photo & text by David Mullins, La Balsa Park, Mooloolah River, Sunshine Coast, Qld.




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Our Mission


Branchers PsalmLOCATE, RECORD, IDENTIFY and POST every species of OPISTHOBRANCH to be found on the Sunshine Coast Queensland, Australia. Learn more>


To LOCATE through scuba diving and intertidal searching.


To RECORD by underwater and studio/taxonomic photography (including microscopy photography) of the specimens.


To IDENTIFY these species through invaluable support fromqualified authorities in this field and developing reference resources.


To POST upon our web site not only images of the species and their natural history behaviour but also information concerning size abundance and localities. Additionally to disseminate to other sites information considered unusual (see Useful Resources).


Towards achieving these aims we will continue to acquire and develop the necessary equipment, resources and knowledge.


Have fun, learn and enjoy the Earth's greatest creatures!

Gary, David and the Team
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Parting note.

Nudibranchs are amoung the most ephemeral of marine creatures. They greatly vary in size, colour and shape. They can be almost invisible or very bright and easy to see. Learn more>


Our Latest Find

Phyllidia elegans
Bergh, 1869 100 mm

Old Woman Island, Mudjimba, Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia


Our Nudibranch website


We embarked upon this adventure of ours while diving here on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Upon realizing the amazing variety of nudibranchs we were seeing, we developed an appetite for not only finding as many different species as possible but identifying and learning all we could about these most amazing creatures of the sea.
Naming Nudibranchs was born when a friend of Gary’s suggested we share our knowledge with the world. The site commenced in March 2003 when we set out on our quest to find, identify and record all of the nudibranchs here in our area. The ever changing sea and seasons give up new surprises every visit whether they are subtidal or intertidal.


Nudibranch Central


Nudibranch Central

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We describe our searching and identifying component of the quest as The Treasure Hunt, and the recording thereof upon the web site as The Never Ending Story.


We welcome for inclusion on the site the findings of other workers in this area that we may not have yet recorded.


From this website a Nudibranch Identification book called Undersea Jewels - A Colour Guide to Nudibranchs was published in 2006. The book is a 'Colour Guide'. After all that is the first thing anyone remembers about first seeing a Nudibranch.





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All photographs and content © 2003-2018 Gary Cobb, David Mullins, Julie Schubert and Terry Farr