Nudibranchs – Colorful sea slugs of Okinawa

Nudibranchs are shell-less gastropods. They are some the most bizarre looking underwater animals found in our oceans. They can be challenging to to find due to their small size and confusing patterns. Nudibranchs are slow moving, delicate and lack a protective shell. Some are extremely distasteful and bright colors warn predators that they are toxic. Some even have the ability to ingest stinging cells and use them as a form of protection.

The best way to find sea slugs:    Move slow!  Search around sponges, hydroids, sea squirts, anemones, soft coral, rocks and reef ledges.

Train the eye:  They can be challenging to find, I recommend tagging along with experienced divers that already have an eye for finding them.

Below are some of my favorite images of sea slugs. Photography by Shawn M Miller.

Chromodoris willani

Chromodoris willani © Shawn Miller

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phestilla melanobranchis© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia varicosa

Phyllidia varicosa© Shawn Miller

Roboasta gracillis

Roboasta gracillis© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

Chromodoris aureopurpurea© Shawn Miller


Aldisa albatrossae

Aldisa albatrossae© Shawn Miller

Tritonospsilla alba

Tritonospsilla alba© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia elegans

Phyllidia elegans© Shawn Miller


Gymnodoris nigrocolor – parasite© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris kuniei© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris annae© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris sp

Chromodoris sp -space odyssey© Shawn Miller

Janolus sp

Janolus sp© Shawn Miller

Noumea angstolutea

Noumea angstolutea© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris coi

Chromodoris coi© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia coelestis

Phyllidia coelestis© Shawn Miller

Flabellina rubrolineata

Flabellina rubrolineata© Shawn Miller

Glossodoris cruenta

Glossodoris cruenta© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare© Shawn Miller

Learn more about the beautiful sea slugs of Okinawa.  Check out Dr. Bolland’s Website!