Two black nudibranchs making friends

Sea life: Black nudibranch

The black nudibranch (Tambja capensis) is only found in South Africa, and is often not black. These nudibranchs occur in brown (below) to reddish morphs, with some even appearing olive green. The turquoise stripes down their flanks are characteristic.

Two black nudibranchs making friends
Two black nudibranchs making friends

These nudibranchs can grow quite large – apart from a few gas flame nudibranchs the size of boerewors rolls that I’ve spotted on more isolated dive sites, black nudibranchs seem to be among the largest variety of local nudibranch. They feed on bryzoans (moss animals) and lay spiral-shaped egg ribbons which are coloured yellow to orange.

Black nudibranch at Partridge Point
Black nudibranch at Partridge Point

They are one of the nudibranchs I see relatively frequently. Their large size helps with spotting them, as well as the fact that they often sit on colourful surfaces. I’ve seen them at Pie Rock, Partridge Point, A Frame and other False Bay sites, and at North Paw in the Atlantic.

You can find out about all kinds of nudibranchs in in Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay by Guido Zsilavecz of SURG.

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Clare

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.

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