Gastropods, namely snails and sea slugs, are the largest class of molluscs, with at least 2,500 species occurring only in Eastern Africa. Inside this group, we can find Nudibranchs, a particularly intersting and often beautiful kind of sea slug.
Nudibranchs are the largest order in the subclass Opisthobranchia. This group is special due to the fact that most of them lack of a protective shell, and therefore have unprotected and exposed gills. There are approximately 4,000 species worldwide, most of them being marine and ranging in size from 2mm to 30cm. Their amazing shapes, striking colors and intricate patterns have made them very popular among photographers and scientists. They are easily seen by snorkelers and divers due to their bright and beautiful coloration and that they are attracted to coral and shallow rocks.
All gastropods have a toothed radula used when scraping algae off rocks or rasping at tissue of shells of invertebrates or other dead animals on which they feed. Nudibranchs are carnivorous and feed on all groups of invertebrates from hydroids and barnacles to polychaetes and other gastropods.
In the Kisite Marine Park include we can find the species Phyllidia varicose from the suborder doridacea. This nudibranch is oval shaped and black in color with white/blue tubercles showing bright orange tips. These are found among shallow coral reefs. Phyllidia zeylanica has also been seen in South Kenyan waters, with its oval shape, bands of low pink tubercles and alternate smooth black bands. These are also found among shallow coral reefs.