Butterflies of the Sea

Janolus Dendronotus Dirona Flabellinopsis Gastropteron Triopha

Many organisms living in the sea are colorful, but two groups stand out as the most flambouyant – tropical reef fish and the soft-bodied relatives of the sea snails, the nudibranchs. With their close relationship to snails and their soft, usually elongate bodies, nudibranchs are often called 'sea slugs' but the name doesn't do them justice. 'Nudibranch' means 'naked gill', referring to the often elaborate structures on the back surface. Many are strikingly-coloured; the combination of delicate form and color merits a more descriptive moniker - butterflies of the sea.

Over the years I have photographed hundreds of nudibranchs and nudibranch relatives, most often in the Pacific Northwest. A fair portion of the photos were taken in the intertidal zone in tide pools, while some were photographed in aquaria, and still others while diving.

This Gallery presents a portion of the 400 or so different species in my collection. Those shown here are available in 11" by 14" art prints.