Preservation of colour

January 30, 2002
From: Hakan Kabasakal

Is there any effective method is available to preserving the colours of nudibranchs under fixed conditions (e.g. in formalin or ethanolic solutions).
Best regards,
Hakan Kabasakal, MSc.
Private collector

Kabasakal,H., 2002 (Jan 30) Preservation of colour. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Hakan,
The only reference I know is to a paper by Gordon Robilliard who reported successfully preserving the color and pattern in some opisthobranchs with the anti-oxidant ionol (The Veliger, 11:288-291, 1969).

I am afraid there is no good way to preserve their colour other than by taking a good photograph. There are a number of techniques which have been suggested but none of them seems to produce consistent results. One problem is that the colour pigments are from different sources. Some pigments are made by the slugs, but others are taken from their food, and every type of pigment reacts differently to the preservatives. You describe yourself as a collector. My advice, if you are interested in nudibranchs, is to collect photos and new information about these animals. There is no way you can capture their beauty by preserving them in a bottle.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman,W.B., 2002 (Jan 30). Comment on Preservation of colour by Hakan Kabasakal. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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