So you got your sea slug, and you need to know what the fuck its anatomy even is. A very normal situation.
Above, you’ll see a diagram of a variable neon sea slug, also known as the dusky nembrotha. This is a type of dorid nudibranch, so some features may not be present in other species of sea slugs.
Let’s start from the top. Rhinophores are sea slugs’ sensory organs, and every species of sea slug has a pair; any number of rhinophores other than two is the result of a mutation (or an attack). They look soft and a bit like you took a feather-duster and hacked away at it with a pair of scissors. Next up is the oral veil. I’ll admit, there is no oral veil on the variable neon sea slug (I think), but I labelled it because a lot of species have an oral veil. This feature covers the sensitive oral tentacles and looks a bit like a hood. Oral tentacles are used to feel around and help the sea slug sense its surroundings. This is because their eyes absolutely suck. You may have noticed I didn’t label the eyes in the diagram, and that is because I couldn’t figure out where the eyes were on my reference image due to their tiny size.
Now to talk about the mantle. Not referring to the largest layer of Earth, sandwiched between the crust and core of our beloved planet. No, I’m referring to the thing in the diagram that I labelled. The mantle is most of the main body of the sea slug and is rather self-explanatory. If you’re confused, search up pictures of terrestrial sea slug mantles and you’ll get the idea. The foot is the end bit of the slug and does not house any major organs (to my knowledge). Sometimes there’s a visible transition from mantle to foot because some species have a mantle skirt, but most of the time it’s anyone’s guess.
You may have noticed that I skipped over the branchial plume. This is because it’s a feature only present in dorid nudibranchs. Thus, I’ll cover it in the nudibranch post coming up next week.
Now you know a bunch of weird buzzwords pertaining to sea slug anatomy. Go out and impress the nearest stranger with your knowledge to the point they think you’re a chronic drunk (I would say go talk to your friends, but if you’re here, I doubt you have any).
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH