Phuket lifestyle: Branching out with colorful nudibranchs

Posted: 06/14/2012 in all marine news

Phuket Gazette –

Perhaps it’s embarrassing, but I first got involved in diving because of the lure of the unknown treasures, which I “knew” were lying at my feet, just below the surface.

I wanted to discover statues, gold, porcelain, all those precious and valuable objects that were lost to humanity.

However, a couple archaeological ethics classes and museum practicum courses managed to loot me of being so unconscionable when diving.

So now I find myself searching among the corals and sea walls for a different sort of elegant treasure – nudibranchs.

Discovering a blue dragon nudibranch or a blue ocean slug hidden among the corals is like finding a tiny gem (not all are so small), a living sapphire.

All 3,000 species of these shell-less mollusks seem to have been created during a massive acid trip.

Just look at their wild patterning, bright colors and ornate bodies and explain it another way.

But no matter what brought them to their present form, such biological creativity has certainly made them jewels of the sea.

In addition to being tantalizingly beautiful, these creatures seem to have the perfect distribution in a reef; they are neither so common that divers begin to overlook them as “standard sights”, nor are they so rare that on the great majority of dives they can’t be uncovered.

It’s partly the searching, the discovery that draws divers to this clad (subspecies) of sea slug – it taps into many divers’ desire to be treasure hunters.

Though many of these carnivorous jelly-bodied creatures are accidentally overlooked during a dive, they are not an ignored spectacle by any means.

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