According to the international scientific community, Cape Verde’s seas are home to some 658 species of fish, 13 of which are endemic. It’s only natural that we almost always refer to fish when the subject is marine life, but there is much more to marine life in Cape Verde than just fish. Some of these species are also likely to be unique to Cape Verde’s waters, such as in the case of certain nudibranches.
According to their scientific definition, “nudibranches constitute a sub-order of marine gastropod mollusks belonging to the order of opistobranches.” They owe their name to the position of their gills, which are found on their exterior of their bodies, normally on the dorsal section. It is estimated that there are some 3,000 different species throughout the world.
Despite their small size, ranging from a few millimeters to several centimeters, nudibranches decorate reefs with their rich colors and strange shapes. They are often imperceptible to human eyes, requiring a certain degree of expertise to be seen among the algae and coral.
The archipelago of Cape Verde has a plethora of these small beings, which enchant aficionados of the area.
In the waters off the island of Santiago, more precisely Tarrafal, various nudibranches have been found and identified, one of which was previously unknown to the scientific community. Others had only been sighted on the other side of the Atlantic, while still others were very rare.