Nudibranchs, essentially shell-less snails or slugs of the marine world, are known for their often bright and outlandish colors. The ocellated Phyliddia (Phyliddia ocellata) is no exception to this trend. With a basic background color varying between orange and gold, and various black patches typically surrounding yellow tubercles with white rings, this nudibranch is a real stand-out on the reef.
Like most nudibranchs, the ocellated Phyllidia feeds on sponges and other small encrusting creatures on the reef. The pair of rhinophores perched atop the head end of this slug provide sensory cues used to locate prey and avoid predators. And like most nudibranchs, the bright colors serve as a warning to would-be predators that this creature would be a noxious snack.
Today’s photo was made on a dive in Dolphin Cove on the island of Taveuni in the Republic of Fiji with a Canon EF100 mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mk. III in an Ikelite underwater housing. Light was provided by an Ikelite DS-161 strobe in eTTL exposure mode. The exposure was set to 1/60 sec. at f/6.7 and ISO 100.