Transparent Nudibranch or Ghost Melibe – A Sight to Behold!

The transparent nudibranch or Ghost Melibe was only discovered in 2012 by the late underwater photographer Neville Coleman. As this nudibranch lives among sponges and hydroids and as its body is transparent it is very well camouflaged. It can be right under your nose and you will still not see it, unless it moves. That was  also the reason why it was only discovered, described, identified and named only recently. 

Nudibranchs are divided into 2 main kinds: Dorid and Aeolid. Dorid with branchial plume (gills) and Aeolid has cerata spread over their back.

Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine gastropods or more commonly called sea slugs with striking forms and bright colours.

Mainly benthic or bottom dwellers although a few could float and swim. It occurs across the globe from the tropics to Antarctica. There are 2,300 species and most are found in warm tropical reefs. The Indonesian waters have hundreds of species.

The Melibe genus is a very interesting family of “hooded nudibranchs” and “transparent nudibranchs”. Melibe colemani is one of the rarest, if not the rarest, was discovered recently by underwater photographer, the late Neville Coleman. The common name of Melibe colemani is “transparent nudibranch” or  “ghost Melibe”!

This nudibranch is an amazing work of evolution and creation through adaption.It is so elusive that you may not even know when it is right there under your nose as it glides across hydroids and sponges.

It is the Holy Grail of all nudibranchs!

I was indeed very fortunate, elated and excited when I saw this nudibranch gliding gently over the hydroids on my second dive, during one of my dives in Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Yes, it is a great moment to witness this nudibranch in the wild among the hydroids scavenging for algae with its hood and pulling the algae in like fish net into its transparent oral cavity!

With mouth open reaching out for algae

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