A Celebration of Nudibranchs – A Farewell Event
Nudibranchs are not only brilliantly adorned harlequin shapeshifters and chemical manufacturing killing machines – These oceanic wonderments have other exciting abilities no one thought possible.
One among their kind (only one) can harvest the DNA of plants and then use the code to manufacture its own photosynthesising cells. Meaning – it eats algae, maps the information and becomes the only animal we know of that is half-plant, half-animal. Is this a new form of symbiosis? Or identity theft?
Written by Emily Rack @horatio’s_Jar
Not so cute – The Nudibranchs aren’t Just a Pretty Face
Nudibranchs are soft bodies gastropods – Sea slugs. This means they haven’t a shell so while slugging about and sometimes attempting to swim (in spasming motions that resemble clapping with one hand), their squishy, maybe slimy, frilly and brilliantly colourfully costumed bodies are vulnerable.
Their meaty wobbly bodies and sedentary lives make them easy targets on the sea floor. But Nudibranchs are far from a tasty snack or a slimy one. Nudibranchs are super toxic and have an arsenal of chemical defences that they deploy on anyone silly enough to try to take a bite.
Pretty & Toxic
Bright colours like the ones Nudibranchs have are usually a dead giveaway in the animal kingdom that these cute Pokémon-like beings are packing a toxic punch. Bright colours scream, “Back Off”, and Nudibranchs are not the only aquatic animals with a ton of venom and very pretty packaging.
Sea snakes are venomous, some deadly and usually display coloured bands of black, white and yellows to advertise their danger. Other animals with distinct bold patterns to warn predators are the poison dart frogs. They are coloured in metallic blues, tomato reds, sunny yellows and spotted; often, their bright colours are contrasted with black.
Watch the Banded Sea Snake – Or Krait
The Banded Sea Snake is a venomous tropical species found in the warm waters of the Pacific. It has a yellow-tipped face, banded black and white body, and a paddle-like tail.
In our weird adjacent reality colours are used to communicate, warn, and attract. Traffic lights, roadsigns and high vis construction workers are all interpretations of the signs nature delivers in her wordless language of colour. (Gives you something to consider next time you see someone dressed in a colour sequence that in nature means – ‘warning I am toxic!).
And with that being the end of our Nudibranch Celebration, I hope the takeaway for you is that – nature is incredible, and everyday we find more awesome discoveries that completely blow the mind. The problem is, as we learn how wonderful life on the not-so-green planet is, all the really cool stuff is going extinct.
In nature, beautiful colours attract, defend and ward off attacks. In the world that is nature, colour is a language, and it’s an effective one if you care to learn. Without saying a word nature is speaking to you, you just need to pay attention.
Guest Contributor: Emily Rack
Business Name: Horatio’s Jar
Publisher: Digital Schools
Emily Rack is a freelance creative writer and researcher, visual content creator, and designer. She is the head of the content production, publication – and editing for Upschool+ Guest Contributors -, and Horatio’s Jar is her content production agency and wellbeing school.
Emily has dedicated her life to researching and understanding matters of the mind, body-, and the human experience. Her discoveries and research are focused on cultivating tools and dialogue that encourage us to live in peace and harmony here on earth.
Her current focus is the environment and human connectivity, conservation, environmentalism, plant medicine, botany, biology-, and the practice of ‘Nature Bathing’. Emily is a writer, digital content creator, seasoned photographer-, and visual artist.
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