Models of sea slugs

It is impossible to accurately preserve the shape and colour of sea slugs. Many attempts have been made to make models of them with varying degrees of success. See messages below for discussion on this topic.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2003 (February 25) Models of sea slugs. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Re: Nudibranch models

March 1, 2003
From: Dave Behrens

Hi All:
Re: 'stuffed nudibranch'. If anyone wants to submit a design and order 1500, Sea Challengers would love to add such an item to our awesome line of opisthobranch books, etc. I too have several critters on my desk including stuffed octopus, two crabs an angler fish and a clown fish.

I hate to be a gossip, but the desk and computer of my dear friend Dr. Terrence Gosliner, Provost of the California Academy of Sciences is covered with ceramic nudibranch critters.

Also, Wes Farmer, used to produce fantastic models of all sort of invertebrates, including nudi's. I am not sure if he still does this.
Dave Behrens

Behrens, D., 2003 (Mar 1) Re: Nudibranch models. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Re: Nudibranch models

March 1, 2003
From: Audrey Falconer

Re: 'stuffed nudibranch'. Make it yourself or get a crafty person to help. A aeolid type could be easily reproduced with rug-hooking techniques, or as a rag rug.

Hm, I might have to make one for myself!

Re: Nudibranch models

February 28, 2003
From: Nishina Masayoshi

Dear Bill,
Re: nudibranch models. I don't know whether you are interested or not, but have a look at

This shop makes sea slug key holder and magnets or pin. Unfortunately, it's a Japanese page only but I think they can accept orders from overseas. The size they indicate on the page is in mm.

Best Regards,
Nishina Masayoshi

Thanks Nishina,
What a beautiful collection of chromodorids!
Bill Rudman

Re: Nudibranch models

February 28, 2003
From: Brian K. Penney

Hi Bill-
Re: Mike's question. I'm wondering if this might be a dialect problem. Mike, did you mean "stuffed animal" as in a teddy bear? I've never seen a plush toy that was a sea slug, although many companies are starting sea life lines (I have a "teddy octopus" over my desk that someone gave me).

I did find one site ( with a "sketch-to-finish" custom order. However, there is a 1,500 unit minimum order. Perhaps not what you were looking for; but you might have a niche market in the malacological or museum community!

Thanks Brian,
You're right I hadn't thought of stuffed toys.
Bill Rudman

Nudibranch models

February 27, 2003
From: Mike Prokop

I was just wondering if you know of any place that makes exotic stuffed animals ... particularly the Blue Dragon Sea Slug [Pteraeolidia ianthina]. A dear friend of mine is deeply infatuated with them and I would love to surprise her with one as a present. Any help you can give would be much appreciated!
Thank you.
Mike Prokop

Dear Mike,
I am afraid nudibranchs are not the best things to preserve. They ahve no hard parts and they lose their shape and colour when they die. Over the years museum preparators have had various success in making models from various materials ranging from plaster of paris to fibreglass. I have even seen a silver brooch in the shape of Glaucus.

However none of these would seem to be what you are after. The most famous models were made in the 19th century in glass by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, a German father and son, who later moved to the USA. Most famous for 1000s of glass plants and flowers, they also made a collection of marine animals including, jellyfish, plankton and nudibranchs. You can find background information in the follwing article:

• Kessler, C. G. & Russell, H. D. (1978) Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka’s nudibranch glass models. The Nautilus, 92(4): 167–172

Bits of the collection are now scattered throughout the world, many of course in the USA. I've added some links here about the various institutions as well as websites about the artisans and their glasswork. There is currently an exhibition of the Blaschka's pieces travelling through the UK, called The Glass Aquarium. It just opened at Nottingham on the 15th of Feb.

Other relevant websites are: (info about their glass flowers as well as a history of their craft) (glass models at the Cornell Museum)
(Blaschka webography) (history and future exhibitions) opt=news&offset=40 (The Glass Aquarium - an exhibition travelling throughout the UK) (The National
Glass Centre)

Not quite what you had in mind Mike, but interesting nonetheless
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Feb 27). Comment on Nudibranch models by Mike Prokop. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from