What do Olympic swimmers, break-dancers, superheroes, and reality TV shows have to do with a Spanish Dancer Nudibranch?
The Nudibranch is nicknamed “Nudi.” Pronounced as “Nudi-Brank,” Brank sounds like the word “bank” with an R. “Spanish Dancer” is a derivative of the undulating whirl of a Flamenco dancer’s red skirt.
This marine gastropod, found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea, is unusual and beautiful, to say the least. To learn the answer to the question above, read these five facts about the Spanish Dancer Nudibranch.
1. They are the Michael Phelps of Nudis
Not only does the Spanish Dancer crawl as a mode of transportation, but it also swims. If you saw this sea slug crawling across a reef like sea slugs do, you would never guess the mollusk could swim. No other Nudis are known to move like this.
2. The Spanish Dancer Nudi has moves like a break-dancer performing the worm
If you’re not familiar with the 80s dance move called “the worm,” it starts by jutting your head forward and making your body trace the letter “S.” This undulation propels the dancer forward. This action is how the animal swims. You know how a Flamenco dancer’s red skirt undulates back and forth? It’s like that.
3. They can grow to be bigger than a loaf of bread
Lovers of the Nudibranch know that most species tend to be about the size of a finger. By comparison, the Spanish Dancer is enormous. This big boy is said to grow up to 40cm/16 inches.
4. They steal power from others like Rogue from X-Men
Rogue is a female superhero from the comic series X-Men. She can absorb superpowers from others just by touching them. Similarly, the Spanish Dancer eats marine sponges and toxic jellyfish for dinner. Then she assimilates the poisons for her own defense.
5. They perform a rose ceremony, just like The Bachelor
On the reality dating show The Bachelor, the rose ceremony is the climax of most episodes. As part of the Spanish Dancer’s reproductive ceremony, she offers a “rose” to the coral reef by laying her eggs in the shape of a rose. The egg ribbon-rose sits in plain sight. The eggs have a high concentration of toxins to protect them before they hatch.
So now you know more about the huge, swimming, superhero, floral-producing sea slug. To locate Spanish Dancer Nudibranch sightings, check out ScubaEarth’s Critter Finder.