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Nudibranchs of North Sulawesi

Nudibranchs of North Sulawesi

The coral reefs & dive sites around North Sulawesi are some of the richest reefs in the world. Not just rich with corals but also with an abundance of other reef life like reef fish, cephalopods and also nudibranchs. That last group is also called the “Butterflies of the ocean” and loved by many scuba divers. In this blog we will dig deep into the variety of species in nudibranchs of North Sulawesi.

But they would never fit all in one blog. There is almost a never ending number of species and within species there are also numerous varieties to be discovered. We will discuss some of the most common ones in this blog and continue next time in another nudibranchs of North Sulawesi blog.

Halgerda Batangas

Halgerda batangas

This nudibranch is very common on all dive sites around North Sulawesi. They love sloping reefs, coral rubble bottoms but can also be found on the walls of Bunaken National Park. If you see one, there are usually more around. Originally discovered in Batangas in the Phillipines, hence it name is Halgerda batangas. It is characterized by a network of fine, solid, red-orange lines on the mantle. Our house reef is a very good spot to see them.

Goniobranchus reticulatus or Goniobranchus sp.?

Goniobranchus sp. or Goniobranchus reticulatus??

This is a very common species around here and found on many dive sites. There is a lot of disagreement between scientists about the identity of this nudibranch, even though it is very common. The original description of this Goniobranchus reticulatus is different from what this one looks like. But the nudibranch pictured above is commonly identified by scuba divers as Goniobranchus reticulatus. But most probably this is still undescribed and named Goniobranchus sp. Read some more about the details on here.

Chromodoris dianae from Bunaken Island

Chromodoris dianae

This is one of the most common nudibranchs found when scuba diving Bunaken National Park. It feeds on a certain type of sponge and can often be found together with multiple individuals feeding on the same sponge. It really stands out on the walls of Bunaken and quite easy to spot once you found one.

Goniobranchus kuniei

Goniobranchus kuniei

This species is often found in Manado Bay and in particular at the Bulo dive site, just 5 minutes away from the resort. A very colorful species with a wide mantle. It lifts up the mantle when moving which makes it very distinctive from other species. It always reminds us of that famous Marilyn Monroe picture where her skirt is blown up by a air fan.

T-bar nudibranch (Ceratosoma trilobatum)

T-bar nudibranch (Ceratosoma trilobatum)

This is one of the larger nudibranchs we see around here in Manado Bay. We don’t see this nudibranch that often while scuba diving Bunaken National Park. Usually we spot this one while scuba diving Manado Bay, in particular on the dive sites Bulo and our house reef.

We will continue with more nudibranchs of North Sulawesi in a next blog. Let us know if there are more species you like to read about in our blog. Write us at or send us a message via social media on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

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