This article first appeared in Issue 8 of our free digital magazine CURIOUS.
“Ribbed” does exactly what it says on the tin in this winning shot from Aleksei Permiakov, who scooped first place in the nudibranch category for Ocean Art 2022. Spotted off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, this alien-like Tambja morosa sea slug has an impressive set of rhinophores: chemosensory structures that can look a bit like bunny ears sticking up off the heads of nudibranchs and other marine gastropods.
Ranging from deep blue to black in color, it grows to just shy of 8 centimeters (3.1 inches), putting it at the larger end of the oceans’ sea slugs. It has wrinkled skin, inspiring the image’s name, and an attractive – if not a little alien – array of vibrant spots.
Also known as the morose or gloomy nudibranch, it’s found in the waters off the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Australia, French Polynesia, Fiji, and Hawaii. This particularly grumpy-looking specimen was found shuffling along the seabed off Bali in Indonesia, where Permiakov was held up by COVID-19.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get every issue of CURIOUS delivered to your inbox free each month.
“During the pandemic me and my wife got stuck in Bali and that was a great opportunity for macro photography,” explained Permiakov to Underwater Photography Guide, which hosts the competition. “We explored Tulamben and made a series of dives at the Drop Off dive site where we spotted quite a lot of different subjects.”
“Tambja morosa is a relatively big nudi and usually I would shoot it without a wet lens, but I decided to focus more on rhinophores and its amazing texture. I used Capture one software for post processing. Cropped and mirrored the image. Added sharpness on the rhinophores and made some clean up.”
You can check out the other winners of Ocean Art 2022 here, and keep an eye out for this year’s competition!