Nudibranchs are a favorite critter for many divers. In fact, nudibranchs are so popular that hundreds of books, websites, and social media pages exist to celebrate them. What is a nudibranch I hear you ask? In lay terms, a nudibranch is basically a garden slug that lives underwater. In a more technical sense, they are a member of the mollusc phylum with their common name nudibranch meaning “naked lung”.
There are over 3000 species of nudibranch and they are found throughout the worlds oceans. They also inhabit depths from the shallows to deeper than 8000 feet. Nudis are found in all habitats including coral reefs, sand flats, rocks, and even drifting through pelagic waters. They range in size from just a few millimeters to over 60 centimeters. Not only do they vary greatly in size, they also display an incredible range of shapes. Of course the most distinguishing characteristic of nudibranchs is the variety of amazing colors they display.
Why are Nudibranchs Popular?
The gaudy colors and incredible “plumage” of nudibranchs is what makes them so popular among macro enthusiasts and underwater photographers. Indonesia is home to possibly more than 1000 species of these charismatic animals. In Bali alone, there are hundreds of different species with more being discovered every year. They can be found throughout the islands dive sites in all types of environment. Mainly they are found singly but can also be found in mating pairs. As a hermaphroditic animal, nudibranchs have both male and female sexual organs but need a “mate” for fertilization. Once they mate, both individuals will lay an intricate ribbon made of hundreds of thousands of eggs.
The hotspot for nudibranchs in Bali is the north east of the island in the Tulamben and Amed regions. The black sand slopes and coral reefs of the area offer an abundance of food for nudis to eat. This is where we find a large variety of nudibranchs of all shapes, sizes, and colour. In fact, some species are so well known from the area they are often called “The Tulamben Nudibranchs”. Of course this doesn’t mean other areas of Bali are not just as rich of a destination for nudi hunters. All areas of the island offer rich nudibranch habitats. Species that are partial to sandy slopes are found in the north and east while reef species can be found everywhere.
Diving in Bali
As a dive centre specializing in underwater photography, we receive a lot of requests from photographers about nudibranchs. Not only is Bali home to a large variety of these slugs, we frequently find rare and beautiful species as well. Our dive team is well versed in the nudibranchs of Bali. Certain habitats such as sea grass areas provide an abundance of these much sought after subjects. Our team are experts when it comes to spotting these beautiful creatures and helping our guests capture the best images possible. As photographers themselves, our guides understand the angles and lighting techniques that work best. They always try their best to help our photographer guests capture the best moments.
Finding Nudibranchs in Bali
If you are a fan of nudibranchs, then a trip to Bali is certainly on your radar. The Underwater Tribe offers private trips for individuals, couples, and groups. We don’t mix divers together as everyone has different goals when diving. Nudibranch lovers tend to be a serious bunch and may not care about the presence of a whale shark mating with a manta ray nearby! We understand the devotion to slugs and our guides are always excited in a good old fashioned mollusk hunt. If you would like to experience diving with our team then please inquire about our availability via email. We look forward to diving with you soon to introduce you to the wonderful world of invertebrates in Bali.