NUDI GILL PIN-UP: Hexabranchus Sanguineus

In preparation for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will be blogging about nudibranchs monthly. My hope is that you, too, will fall in love with these colorful little critters. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to December’s festive supermodel:

Hexabranchus Sanguineus

Dr. James P. McVey, (Photo Collection of Dr. James P. McVey) NOAA Sea Grant Program, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

(AKA, the Spanish Dancer )

You may be thinking, what exactly am I looking at here? This is in fact a nudibranch and not a Christmas poinsettia. Hexy is one of the biggest nudibranchs out there and can grow up to 24 inches long! Yeah, measure that out. It’s a staggering size in the world of sea slugs!

Is it too soon for some holiday celebration? These beauties come in bright red, pink, orange or sometimes yellow. They can be found in warm waters all the way from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea.

As cool as it is to watch a Spanish Dancer “dance,” try to remember that they only do this when they feel threatened and are trying to get away. So if you see one lying on the sea floor, please respect its personal space. No one likes to be forced onto the dance floor.

Feliz Navidad, dude!

I hope you enjoyed meeting the flamboyant Hexabranchus Sanguineus nudibranch. Stay tuned for January’s NUDI GILL Pin-Up!


Bonnie Kelso writes and illustrates books for children and adults that encourage individualism and brave self-expression. She facilitates art workshops for her local community and beyond. Her debut picture book, NUDI GILL, will be released in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she can be found wandering about outside with her family whenever a good opportunity to do so presents itself.

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