The bottom-dwelling, jelly-bodied Nudibranch might look an unlikely canvas for Mother Nature to express her wildest indulgences of color and form. But these shell-less mollusks, part of the sea slug family, bear some of the most mesmerizing shapes, sumptuous hues, and complicated patterns of any animal on Earth. There are over 3,000 well-known species of Nudibranch, and newest are being recognized almost daily. They are originate throughout the world's oceans, but are most plentiful in shallow, tropical waters. Their scientific name, Nudibranchia, means naked gills, and explains the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs. Usually oblong in shape, Nudibranchs can be thick or flattened, long or short, ornately colored or drab to match their surroundings. They can grow as small as 0.25 inches or as large as 12 inches long.
They are carnivores that slowly ply their range grazing on algae, sponges, anemones, corals, barnacles, and even other Nudibranchs. To recognize prey, they have two highly responsive tentacles, Named “rhinophores”, situated on top of their heads. Nudibranchs get their coloring from the food they eat, which assist in camouflage, and some even retain the foul-tasting poisons of their prey and secrete them as a defense against predators. Nudibranchs are instantaneous hermaphrodites, and can mate with any other mature member of their species. Their lifespan are varies generally, with a few living less than a month, and others living up to one year.