Meet the Melibe
Melibe are a pretty unique type of nudibranch — aka sea slug — that are found in the kelp forests of Alaska all the way down to the Gulf of California. This nudibranch has a pretty incredible defense mechanism to ward off predators. They can secrete a distinct odor that keeps danger away — many say it smells like watermelon! Check out this awesome close-up of a melibe that was photographed in our nursery.
Mealtime for the Melibe
Most nudibranch species will utilize their radula — a tooth-like tongue — to graze on algae, sponges, anemones, and even other nudibranchs. However, a melibe uses a unique oral hood to capture a meal. To feed, a melibe will sweep its tentacle-frilled hood downward and sideways to trap small plankton drifting nearby. It will then contract its hood to force the captured food into its mouth. This species is also known as the Lion’s Mane Nudibranch and even the Hooded Nudibranch due to its unique oral hood!
Visit the nursery in the Hall of Fishes on your next visit! You can find this incredible sea slug hanging out alongside the sand crabs!