How to Fall in Love with Nudibranchs in 12 Easy Steps

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Chromodoris magnifica nudibranch

It is no secret that I love the nudibranch. But it may come as a surprise that not everyone shares my branchophile tendencies. Fortunately, I have devised a twelve-step program to convert even the most reluctant slug-lover into a nudi connoisseur.


Nudibranchs: The Twelve-Step Program for the Budding Slug-Lover

Step 1: Fail to see what the dive guide and the photographer are even looking at when they stop to inspect nudibranchs.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Glossodoris sp. nudibranch

Glossodoris sp. nudibranch

Step 2: Mask your annoyance that the photographer in your group keeps stopping to look at microscopic slugs that you can't even see.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Flabellina exoptata nudibranch

Flabellina exoptata nudibranch

Step 3: When looking over her shoulder as she edits photos during happy hour, acknowledge that "they are colorful at least."

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Nembrotha chamberlaini nudibranch

Nembrotha chamberlaini nudibranch

Step 4: Actually notice one of the more common slugs on the reef during your next dive.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Goniobranchus reticulatus nudibranch

Goniobranchus reticulatus nudibranch

Step 5: Frantically wave the photographer over. You have found a slug! You are part of the club!

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Chromodoris lochi nudibranch

Chromodoris lochi nudibranch

Step 6: Become dejected when the photographer seems uninterested. She already has a ton of photos of that one.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Nembrotha chamberlaini nudibranch

Nembrotha chamberlaini nudibranch

Step 7: Take an active interest in the happy hour nudi photo edits.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Hypselodoris tryoni nudibranch

Hypselodoris tryoni nudibranch

Step 8: Begin anthropomorphizing the nudibranchs in the photos. Remark that one is "cute." Maybe swoon a little.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Nembrotha kubaryana nudibranch

Nembrotha kubaryana nudibranch

Step 9: Suddenly realize on a dive that the nudibranchs are everywhere. See 17 species that are new to you on a single dive.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines:  'Doriprismatica' atromarginata nudibranch

'Doriprismatica' atromarginata nudibranch

Step 10: Find a nudibranch you haven't seen yet.  Consider waving over the photographer, but get gun-shy after your experience in Step 6.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines:  Goniobranchus geometricus nudibranch

Goniobranchus geometricus nudibranch

Step 11: Casually mention the nudibranch during happy hour: "Hey, have you seen one that looks like this?" Find validation in the photographer's manic reaction: No, I haven't, and why didn't you show me????

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Phyllidia ocellata nudibranch

Phyllidia ocellata nudibranch

Step 12: Embrace the nudibranch love. Acknowledge that you have experienced something of a spiritual awakening, and begin evangelizing the nudibranch to others.

Anilao, Batangas, Philippines:  Chromodoris dianae nudibranch

Chromodoris dianae nudibranch

2 Responses to “How to Fall in Love with Nudibranchs in 12 Easy Steps”

  1. Mary Pat says:

    This is my all time favorite 12 step program!

    · December 13, 2013 @ 10:14 am


  2. KK says:

    Ashley, absolutely brilliant photos. I have long resisted the lure of the sea slug, but these well-rendered images do make an impact…and a Nudibranch Happy Hour definitely wouldn’t hurt the odds of conversion.

    · December 13, 2013 @ 3:45 pm


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