Re: Nudibranchs from Hydrothermal Vents

October 7, 2001
From: Angel Valdés

Dear Emily,
Concerning your question. There is only one species of opisthobranch known from hydrothermal vents, Dendronotus comteti Valdés & Bouchet, 1998, described from the Lucky Strike area in the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Sagalevich et al.(1992) reported large nudibranchs and their "characteristic planispiral egg sets up to 30 cm in size" from an active hydrothermal vent in the Bering Sea. However, the identity of these animals has not been confirmed and the description is too short to even determine whether they are opisthobranchs or something else.

It is still unknown how these naked Dendronotus are able to survive in such a toxic environment. Shells and crustaceans found in hydrothermal vents are normally heavily corroded. It appears that
the nudibranchs inhabit the peripheral areas with lower hydrothermal activity, but still very toxic. The specimens were found in the proximity of hydroids, which probably constitute their food source. It is likely that more species of opisthobranchs will be found in hydrothermal vents in the future, it is just a matter of collecting effort.

Angel Valdés

Valdés, A. , 2001 (Oct 7) Re: Nudibranchs from Hydrothermal Vents. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Angel,
Thanks for your comments and the photos of Dendronotus comteti.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Oct 7). Comment on Re: Nudibranchs from Hydrothermal Vents by Angel Valdés . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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