We found it. In Lembeh. Yeeeha! No joke: Last week NAD-Lembeh found the Melibe colemani in Lembeh Strait. Even though some of our guides previously said, that he had already seen it … well we did not really believe as we have not seen photos. Sorry guys, we were wrong. But now we have photos and videos to prove 😉
This absolutely beautiful animal has been first observed by the famous Nudibranch Legend Neville Coleman in Borneo – unfortunately he died just before this Melibe was officially named after him in 2012. On the dive Neville Coleman discovered the first specimen, he was almost out of air and managed only to take 8 shots – 7 of which he published in his Nudibranch Encyclopedia. As a homage to him and his work we also put up a gallery of 7 Photos (… plus a video) at the end of this article 😉
Until now the best place to find it was in Komodo / Indonesia. Now we have a 100% confirmed sighting in Lembeh Strait plaus we know now how to find it. Still: This Nudibranch remains a mystery and holy grail for all Critter lovers that haven’t seen it yet.
Like all Melibe Nudibranchs this animal consists of a body with cerrata (sausage like extensions on its “back”) and an oral hood. With its transparent body and long apical papillae on its cerata it resembles other Melibe species like the Engel’s Melibe or the Melibe bucephala. Colemani differs from them in details like shape of the end of the cerata and the Rhinophores.
The one striking difference is without doubt its skeleton like structure of white lines that makes it look more like an alien than a nudibranch. These white lines (Tubuli) are actually the digestion system of the nudibranch. When it is waving in the surge this animal completely blends in and look like everything else but a nudibranch.