Aeolid Nudibranch Defense

A nudibranch showing a closeup of their fleshy, tentacle-like growths, called cerata.
Jessica Goodheart

This nudibranch has a few tricks up its sleeve: it steals jellyfish tentacles to use as weapons against its own enemies. How does it do this? Many fleshy, tentacle-like growths, called cerata (singular: ceras), project off its back. After the nudibranch eats the tentacles of a jellyfish, anemone, coral, or other stinging animal, the stolen stinging cells pass through the digestive gland, which is the grey section in each ceras. They wind up in the orange cnidosacs, where they are stored until they are needed for defense. Read more in the blog post How Sea Slugs Steal the Defenses of Their Prey.

Tags Defenses