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Spanish Dancer Nudibranch - Hexabranchus sanguineus

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The Spanish Dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus) is one of the largest of all nudibranches. It has mottled coloration on its body, but when disturbed it unfurls an elaborate crimson and white color display and may take flight in a flamenco-like swim, a truly beautiful display. Several other regional color varieties exist as well. This Nudi feeds specifically on sponge and must have a sufficient food source in aquariums.

The term "nudibranch" means "naked gill" and refers to the fringy, tassel-like gills visible on many species. This group include animals that we commonly refer to as "sea slugs" as well as the sea hares popular for algae control. As a group, there is not much known about many species of nudibranch and more are being discovered and reclassified continuously. While some like the sea hares are well studied and we know enough about their lif cycles and diets for them to be maintained, the diet and requirements of most nudibranchs is largely unknown. Most are thought to feed on sponges, polyps, tunicates. Some of the most colorful nudibranchs are actively collected and sold for aquariums but many more come as "hitchhikers" on rock and corals, for better or for worse.

Use caution when placing any nudibranch in your reef system if its diet is an unknown. Nudibranchs in aquariums are generally shortlived, both due to their natural short lifespans as well as the difficulty of meeting their dietary requirements.


F93 0045 0174
That Fish Place
Common NameSpanish Dancer Nudibranch
Scientific NameHexabranchus sanguineus
Reef SafeYes, with caution
Invert SafeYes, with caution
Community SafeYes
DifficultyModerate to High
Max Size (in inches)16
Min Tank Size (in gallons)55
DietCarnivore (mostly sponges)
Specific Gravity Range1.022-1.026
pH Range8.0-8.4
Temperature Range75-82
ToxicYes, if stressed or eaten
Internal Id

State Restrictions
Armed Forces Americas
Armed Forces Europe
Armed Forces Pacific
Puerto Rico


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