Sunday, April 21, 2019


On a recent trip to the Puerto Galera and Dumaguete in the Philippines, we were treated to a mind-boggling array of Nudibranchs (34 different types) and other curious critters. This was my first trip to try my hand at the challenging art of underwater photography. Up to this point, I had always preferred going with the flow of videography. What I found while practicing with my new Olympus TG5 was that it caused me to have to focus more on my subject (pun intended).

Later while reviewing my photos, I decided to look up and identify each critter. What I found was that I had some misconceptions about what I was seeing.

There were ones I thought were Nudibranchs that turned out to be slugs. Others I thought were worms turned out to be Sea Cucumbers, which happen to be in the same family as Sea Stars and Urchins (who knew). In the past I always thought of Sea Cucumbers as the large turd-like creatures that laid about on the ocean floor. There are ones that look like that, but then there is one that looks like some kind of marine fern that stretches its frowns into the current to capture food and then stuffs it into a mouth located in its center. This one is call a Magnum Sea Cucumber. It's amazing to watch. Check out the video!

Now, I am even more fascinated by what I have seen and have yet to see. The ocean is a vast realm full of surprises!

Critter ID is a great way to expand ones appreciation of what we see.
To learn more, I recommend Reef Creature Identification by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach. Check out some of these crazy critters below.

Blue Velvet Headshield Slug

Candy Cane Sea Cucumber

Chamberlains Nembrotha Dorid Nudibranch

Clear Sundial

Colorful Hypseodoris

Coral Worm Snail

Indian Caloria Aeolid Nudibranch

Kubaryans Nembrotha Nudibranch

Lined Nembrotha Dorid Nudibranch

Major Harp

Orange-Edged Sapsucking Slug

Ornate Sapsucking Slug

Painted Thecacera Dorid Nudibranch

Phyllodesmium Aeolid Nudibranch

Phyllodesmium Aeolid Nudibranch

Racing Stripe Flatworm

Reticulated Chromodoris Dorid Nudibranch

Robe Hem Hypselodoris Dorid Nudibranch

Christmas Tree Worms

Yamasus Cuthona Aeolid Nudibranch

Yellow Sea Cucumber