Alex Mustard - SLUUURP!


A nudibranch (Flabellina nobilis: Coryphella nobilis) feeding on a solitary hydroid (Tubularia indivisa), note how the hydroid has bent back as it is pulled into the nudibranch’s mouth by one of its tentacles. This photo reminds me of a child (and some adults) eating spaghetti.

Nudibranchs are small, marine gastropod molluscs, which unlike snails have lost their shells. Although they might seem vulnerable to predators, most nudibranchs are very well defended. The nudibranch is not only able to eat the stinging nematocysts of the hydroid without getting stung, but actually uses its prey’s stings for its own defence, storing them primed and ready in the extensions of its gut that branch its the cerata on its back. A prime example of you are what you eat.

Location: Gulen, Norway

Tags: Alex Mustard, feeding, Flabelina nobilis, North Atlantic Ocean, Norway, nudibranch, underwater

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  1. Alex Mustard said:

    28/04/2013 11:14

    The ID of this nudibranch is a work in progress. It is a widely known form, it is just being both reclassified at a genus level (which is why I've given two versions of the name). Furthermore, nudibranch scientists decided on the same trip that this was taken, that while this species is similar to F. nobilis, it is probably a separate species (which has not been described officially yet). So this isn't a wow new species situation, more just an existing, well known species being divided into two.
    Anyway, it is still sucking on spaghetti to me!

  2. Olivier Esnault said:

    28/04/2013 12:42

    Great details and nice colors