Monday, August 9, 2010

Nembrotha cristata

What is a sea slug??
Any of various marine gastropods of the suborder Nudibranchia having a shell-less and often beautifully colored body, an omnivorous soft-bodied marine animal; related to the snail, clam, octopus and squid, a long range, high altitude anti-aircraft missile system of the 1950s, was not used against aircraft but for bombardment of positions near Port Stanley by the Royal navy ships equipped with it. Sea Cat is a surface to air missile system intended for use aboard small warships.

Nembrotha cristata

Physical characteristics:
It has Soft body, large gills which will not be retracted into a poket .

Color: Black color with high up green pustules. Black gills of green border, also green border of the foot.

Length: 12 cm.

Confusion is possible with other Nembrotha species, in particular with Nembrotha kubaryana that can have different degree of red markings but that always has a red margin surrounding foot and head.
Connected organisms: Often in association with arborescent bryozoans and with social ascidians, its food. It’s feeding is often on the ascidian Oxycorynia fascicularis.


This species occurs in the tropical Indo-West Pacific.

Nembrotha cristata is intermittently familiar at Kwajalein Atoll, but was never located despite extensive searching at Enewetak. At Kwajalein, it can be found on seaward or lagoon interisland reefs, but it mostly prefers lagoon pinnacles, where it lives in ledges and under rocks and eats a dark green colonial tunicate.

During September, 1998 and August, 2000, dozens of Nembrotha feeding on the green tunicates on top of a shallow (2 meter depth) lagoon pinnacle close to Onemak Island.

During September, 2002, and, there were none at the same place. More recently, another lagoon pinnacle near the southern end of Kwajalein Atoll was the site of almost an invasion of the dark green tunicate, which covered much of the bare rock on the reef. Soon after, numerous Nembrotha cristata were found feeding on the tunicate colonies.

A year later, most of the tunicate was not available, nudibranchs were present. Populations do seem to come and go.

Life span: Their lifespan vary, from one short month to about a year.


They have stunning and amazing colors on this particular critter, but so is this fact about them. They are hermaphrodites, (i.e.) being both male and female at the same time. They lay eggs and fertilize by themselves, but rarely do they do it.

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