Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

Posted by Tyler Keegan on on 16th Mar 2023

The Spanish shawl, or Flabellina iodinea, is a beautiful nudibranch (sea slug) found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. Despite its name, it is not related to shawls or textiles in any way. Instead, it gets its name from the vibrant red-orange color that resembles the fabric of a traditional Spanish shawl. This sea slug can grow up to 3 inches in length and is well-known for its beautiful frilly cerata that cover its back. Although it's a soft creature, it's known to be toxic to predators due to the presence of stinging cells in its cerata. The Spanish shawl is hermaphroditic, meaning it has both male and female reproductive organs, and it reproduces by laying eggs. It's a popular subject for underwater photography, and reef divers will often spot these fascinating creatures on their underwater adventures.