I would venture to say that we have all seen the Spanish Dancer nudibranch. Its scientific name of Hexabranchus sanguineus translates in the vernacular as: six gilled – blood coloured.
Next time you come across one take a closer look at the gills. They are quite feathery but unlike most nudibranchs that have their gills joined at the base before inserting into the body Hexabranchus gills are separate. Each of these six gills has its own little pocket into which it can contract. They are arranged in a circle around the anus. In the above photo you will see 5 of the 6 separate pockets with a gill in each just visible at the opening with the sixth pocket just out of sight. Sometimes the contracted folds around the pocket entrance give the appearance of a couple of holes close together.
This photo serves to prove the inaccuracy of several published descriptions of the species that state they have no pockets into which the gills can retract.
Photo & text by David Mullins, Nudi Retreat, Currimundi Reef,
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.
nudibranch.com.au 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.
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.
LOCATE, 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 speciesthrough 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!