Many divers love to look for nudibranchs as they scour the deep. Few realise that the average non-diver can also spot these amazing critters – without getting wet above the knee!
Nudibranchs (pronounced noo-dee-brahnks) or nudis, as they are popularly referred to, are molluscs without shells, and close relatives of sea slugs. Their Latin name nudibranchia translates into ‘naked gills’, which describe the feathery extensions that come out of their back. They are also identified by two horn-like tentacles or rhinophores that they use to look for prey.
Nudis eat sponges, algae, anemones, coral and even other nudis. Their crazy colouration comes from the food that they eat; most divers will tell you that nudis are the prize rainbow nuggets of the underwater scene. Nudis are also hermaphrodites (having both sexes), which means that they can mate with any adult member of their species. Nudis can live between less than a month to a year; some are extremely tiny, while others can grow to a foot long. Nudis can be spotted in the intertidal waters of Pulau Merambong or amongst the seagrass meadows of Mukim Tanjung Kupang. Juveniles of some species have also been found in the rocky shores under the Second Link to Singapore (identified during a mangrove walk).
Kelab Alami Mukim Tg Kupang conducts guided habitat tours in these areas and if you are lucky you will find one or two hidden amongst rocks or on the sand. For more information, log on to kelabalami.weebly.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.