Frilled nudibranch with rhinophores visible

Sea life: Frilled nudibranch

Two frilled nudibranchs having a conference
Two frilled nudibranchs having a conference

I only saw my first frilled nudibranch (Leminda millecra) fairly recently, and then two dives on the MFV Orotava in successive weeks had me spotting upwards of 20 of them on each dive.  They have rapidly become my favourite nudibranch. Move over, gas flames! According to Guido, they prefer deeper, offshore reefs. They are only found in South African waters, and are found from the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula all the way to Port Elizabeth. Deep water specimens have been found off the coast of KZN, too.

They can grow up to 9 centimetres total length, according to Georgina. The edges of the body have a blueish colour, and the frills may be orange to pink. The range of colour variation can be seen in these pictures. The rhinophores (little sensory tentacles on the front of the head) are smooth and straight – you can see them in the picture below.

Frilled nudibranch on the MFV Orotava with rhinophores visible
Frilled nudibranch on the MFV Orotava with rhinophores visible

No one knows (yet) what they eat. How wonderful that there are still some mysteries in the world!

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

3 thoughts on “Sea life: Frilled nudibranch”

  1. You always get the colors just right, whats your secret? Whats the settings on your camera?
    Please share. 🙂

    1. It is very kind of you to say that and I wish I could take credit!! I have quite a dinky little camera – the Sony DSC TX100 and its matching underwater housing. There are literally no settings – just put it in “underwater” mode and point and shoot! The results are quite suprising for suh a simple camera. The only flexibility is to turn the flash on and off which generally isn’t a good idea unless I’m trying to take a wide shot in dirty water 🙂

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