Spanish Shawl Nudibranchs (Flabellina iodinea) are some of the most incredible creatures in the Southern California waters (IMO). This sea slug grows to be about 38 mm (close to 1.5 inches) but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. When you’re trekking along the beach and catch a glimpse of those tremendous oranges, purples, and reds – you know you’re in for a treat.

Like other species of sea slugs, Spanish Shawl nudibranchs are hermaphrodites; meaning they have both male and female organs. It’s very rare that they “do the deed” with themselves, though. Normally there are other eligible bachelor(ettes) wandering around. I saw plenty during this trip!

Oh, and make sure to check out their interesting escape mechanism, too! They can turn into pretty crazy swimmers if need be, flipping their bodies back and forth to get the heck out of whatever situation they’re in. Hence the “spanish dancer” nickname. And who said slugs were slow?