The Other Half

Here's a head-scratcher for Sunday morning.

If you cut a nudibranch in half straight down the middle, will it survive?

Apparently, the answer is yes.

half nudibranch

I came across this 50% nudibranch (tentatively Discodoris sp.) during an evening dive several days ago. Other than the fact that it looks like it was either sliced in half or perhaps born that way, this sea slug was completely happy, crawling along the bottom doing its usual nudibranch thing.

Odd, no?

Then there was this flounder, which we encountered on a different night dive.

half white flounder

The posterior half of this fish is all white. At first glance, I thought something had attacked it and stripped the fish's skin. Perhaps something did skin this fish, but upon reflection, it seems more likely that it was just born this way...since the white area looks exactly like the skin that's normally on the underside of a flounder (i.e., white, textured, without the camouflage).

Like the nudibranch, this fish seemed perfectly happy going about its business, unperturbed by its lack of camouflage for half its body.

The Lembeh Strait is a tough place for marine animals. There are predators lurking in every nook and cranny, under the sand, and swimming above.

In this context, it's amazing to come across two such missing a half and the other with half totally exposed.