Family Tethydidae updated
seen? This large nudibranch is sometimes on among seagrasses. It may be
seasonal: when seen, many individuals are encountered.
Features: 6-12cm long. Soft body
with about 8 large lobes arranged in two rows along the body length.
These lobes stick to predators and detach, so please don't handle
the nudibranch. Like other Melibe species, it has an expandable hood (oral veil)
which it uses to hunt. According to Bill
Rudman, this nudibranch has lost its radula and instead has an
oral veil that can expand into a "fish net". The veil is used to constantly
scan the substrate or to sweep seagrass blades. When the sensitive
hairs on the inner edge of the oral veil touch a small crustacean
(amphipods, crabs, shrimps), the edge of the veil rapidly contracts,
trapping the prey, which is then eaten.
It can 'swim', doing so upside down by vigorously bending side-to-side,
touching its head to its tail. See Chay Hoon's video
clips of the hood in action, and the animal swimming.
Its foot is said to be better suited to clinging to seaweeds and seagrasses
than for creeping along the ground.
With hood (oral veil) expanded.
Cyrene Reef, Jul 08
Sensitive hairs on the inner edge of the oral veil.
Cyrene Reef, Jun12