I’m absolutely mad about nudibranchs, and scuba diving in cape town gives me the opportunity to hunt for these amazing creatures.
Cape Town’s cold waters may not have the many colourful fish found on coral reefs. Instead, we have incredibly colourful reefs, which are perfect for a macro fanatic.
So, what is a nudibranch? Hmmm, short and sweet, it’s a slug – a sea slug. But not your common dull garden-variety slug – no, nudibranchs are usually rather colourful and attractive, showing incredible variety. Nudibranch itself means “naked gill”, because the gills are on the outside of the body.
And while we all commonly refer to all sea slugs as nudibranchs, technically they are only one type of sea slug – there are many others!
In Cape Town we have around 75 known species, according to our naturalist and nudibranch fundis. For most of them we have nice common names. We also have the scientific names for those who like to tick off species lists.Guido Zsilavecz has written a book “Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula of False Bay”, which shows most of the known species. While in Georgina Jones’ book “A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula” the more common ones are shown. And in-between all the other animals found in our 8-18 degree waters.