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February 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification: Indo-Pacific

from the February, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Indonesia has so much to offer the nudibranch enthusiast. For example, on Nudi Wall at Lembeh Strait, nudibranchs litter the seabed as if a great big sack of Gummy Bears has been carelessly tipped out. Nudibranchs are colorful slugs that wear their feathery gills on their backs. There are so many varieties, but how do you know which you’ve seen?

Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification: Indo-PacificThe Indo-Pacific area is so vast, too. It makes the Caribbean look like a pond. You’ll find critters existing in vast numbers from Indonesia’s Pulau Weh in the west to The Bird’s Head Peninsular to the east. Add the stretch of tropical water from the coast of South Africa all the way to the west coast of the Americas (where species from further east have “leaked”), and it becomes immediately apparent there is an almost never-ending supply of nudibranchs and sea slugs to discover.

That turns many macro photographers into nudibranch photo buffs. The problem is to reliably identify what you’ve collected in your camera’s memory card. New World Publications has come to the rescue with Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification: Indo-Pacific, just as it has with the identification of invertebrates, corals and fishes closer to home.

The book does what it says on the cover, and has a familiar format, but it’s a weighty tome of 400 pages packed with colour pictures, usually six to a page, along with basic information to help the reader get the best chance of the right identification. It’s broken into sections, separating acteonids, sea hares, headshielded and sapsucking slugs from the main bulk of true nudibranchs.

The three authors -- Terence M. Gosliner, Ángel Valdés and David W. Behrens -- are well-established marine scientists who have often collaborated, including an earlier book with a similar title (now out of print). This new book represents an improved version of that earlier work, with more than 500 additional photographs and species, pointing out that most of these critters can only be found in the eastern Pacific, so they have concentrated their efforts entirely in the tropical zone.

With a $60 list price, it’s by no means inexpensive, but I can imagine this book becoming the standard reference on liveaboards and in dive centers, and also be waiting on the bookshelves of many macro photographers to help with getting the names right, once they have sorted their pictures.

To purchase Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification, go to -- you’ll get Amazon’s best price, and we’ll donate our commission to save coral reefs.

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