The Creatures Living at the Bottom of the Sea

There look like animals from another galaxy, but these multi-coloured see slugs are actually one of the wonders of our sea. Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine molluscs that shed their seashells after their larval level, exposing their brightly-coloured outside. These amazing pictures were taken by creatures photographer Franco Banfi in some of Earth’s most exotic waters surrounding Indonesia, the Phillippines, Papua New Guinea, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

creature of seaBeachWalkers can often find nudibranchs in tidal pools at low tide

creature of seaEven sea slug eggs can be red, pink, orange or any other colour depending on the species

creature of seaNudibranchs are hermaphrodites which means that they possess both male and female sex organs

creature of seaSea slugs are found all over the world, including the British Isles, the tropics and even the Antarctic

creature of seaThey can be found crawling over rocks, seaweeds, sponges, corals and many other substrates

creature of seaSea slugs have tentacles on their heads which they use to find food and seek a mate

creature of seaIn most species, the gills are prominently displayed on their dorsal surface

creature of seaNudibranchs are among the most beautiful and diverse creatures to be found on the planet

creature of seaAnother defence tactic is for nudibranchs to release acid from their skin

creature of seaSome species get their toxicity from the sponge they eat but others can produce it themselves

creature of seaSome nudibranchs have toxins which can render their predators incapacitated

creature of seaNudibranchs live on all levels of the ocean but their greatest size and variation comes in warm, shallow waters

creature of seaThere are thought to be around 3,000 different species of nudibranchs in our oceans

creature of seaWildlife photographer Franco Banfi travelled around the world to capture these beautiful images

creature of seaAnother theory is that their bright colouring helps sea slugs blend into their surroundings

creature of seaOne theory is that the colourful exterior is a form of aposematism – a warning to predators that they could be poisonous

creature of seaThe name ‘nudibranchs’ derives from Latin and Greek and means ‘naked gills’

creature of seaThese images were taken in waters surrounding Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, as well as the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea

creature of seaIt is believed the soft-bodied marine molluscs have evolved their unique anatomy to warn off predators

creature of seaNudibranchs shed their shells during the larval stage to reveal these multi-coloured exteriors

creature of seaThese alien-like creatures can be found in oceans all over the world

If you want to read more about creatures living of the sea click here.

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