WHY ALL THE COLOURS?
Zoologist Jessica Toms did her master’s degree on the nudibranchs of South Africa and has carried out extensive research along our coastline. She says the colourful and elaborate design of the slugs is all part of their defence arsenal. Some nudibranchs have evolved to synthesise the stinging cells of their prey, subverting them to use as their own weapons. Colouration is often used to blend in – or, in the case of some brightly coloured nudis, to stand out as much as possible to ward off potential predators. Some are able to shed their cerata (dorsal or lateral outgrowths) when threatened, while others are able to ‘suck’ in their sensitive gill branches when in danger.