What animals do you think exhibit the most kaleidoscopic variety of colors and patterns in the wildest diversity of forms in the animal kingdom? Tropical birds? Rain forest frogs? Well, move over toucans; and hop aside, poison-dart frogs. Because the prize for the most flamboyant group of animals out there has to go to the 3,000 species that make up the sub-class called nudibranchs.
If you’ve never heard of nudibranchs, worry not. Most people haven’t. With a name derived from two Latin words meaning “naked gills,” nudibranchs are sea slugs, scientifically known as “shell-less marine gastropod mollusks.” And if that sounds about as much like an oxymoron as “jumbo shrimp,” it’s because they really do start out with shells and end up, well, shell-less.