To prepare for NUDI GILL, my debut picture book release in September 2022, I will blog about nudibranchs monthly. I hope you will fall in love with these little critters, too. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to February’s sweetheart of a supermodel:
Jorunna Parva (aka The Sea Bunny)
Awwwww, so DANG cute!
Am I right? This Valentine’s Day there’s nothing I’d love more than to charm you with fun facts about this sweet little cuddle bunny. So cozy up with your special someone and get ready to unravel this adorable nudibranch’s mysteries. The Sea Bunny, or Jorunna Parva, gets its name from its fluffy appearance. Even its dorsal gills (which it uses to breathe) resemble a cottontail.
“Did my heart love till now?”– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
How does the Sea Bunny keep its fur from getting all wet? The Sea Bunny has clusters of tiny rods, called caryophyllidia, that cover its back. These tiny protrusions give the animal’s body surface a texture that resembles fur. Just imagine always looking soft and fuffy, even when you’re drenched in water. Land bunnies can’t manage that.
It’s a big ocean, so how do nudibranchs find each other? Since they cannot see each other, they use their rhinophores to sense each other’s presence. The rhinophores on this sea bunny look like little black bunny ears. Scientists believe that the Sea Bunny’s “fur” rods are also sensory organs.
“Love is in the air, in the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air, in the thunder of the sea…”– John Paul Young, Love Is In The Air (’78)
Do nudibranchs fall in love? If they do, it is probably more of a quick crush. Let’s dive deeper into nudibranch reproduction.
>RATED PG CONTENT AHEAD<
Nudibranchs are simultaneous hermaphrodites. That means they have fully functioning male and female reproductive organs in one body. This is a very fortunate situation for a slow-moving sea slug because they may not encounter another of their kind very often. To mate, they cuddle together side by side, to fertilize each other’s eggs. Now both nudibranchs can lay egg ribbons!
>END OF RATED PG CONTENT<
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”– Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
To watch more sea bunnies in action, check out this video:
Thank you for taking the time to get to know February’s NUDI GILL PIN UP, the Sea Bunny. If you aren’t in love with these creatures by now, well… What’s wrong with you? Do you have a heart of stone? Here’s one more adorable picture to help seal the deal.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Stay tuned for March’s exciting 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, releases in September, 2022. A lover of nature and travel, she often wanders about outside with her family whenever an excellent opportunity to do so presents itself.