Nudibranchs and flatworms
a photographic atlas for the Bass Strait region
Photographic Atlas
Current Atlas Projects


Museum Victoria and ReefWatch Victoria have launched a project using divers, snorkellers and underwater photographers to learn more about the ecology, distribution and diversity of nudibranchs and flatworms in the Bass Strait region, southeastern Australia. This project is being run by ReefWatch Victoria and InfoZone at Museum Victoria under the supervision of the Marine Biology Section, Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Nudibranchs are gastropods and belong to the phylum Mollusca. Flatworms belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes (and are quite unrelated to nudibranchs). However, both are often brightly coloured and are often seen by divers and snorkellers. Neither nudibranchs nor flatworms are well known in southern Australia, yet we can learn a great deal about them from colour photographs. Therefore, ReefWatch Victoria and Museum Victoria are running a project to generate photographic atlases of nudibranchs and flatworms, focusing on the Bass Strait region.

Many nudibranch and flatworm species appear to have close associations with the marine invertebrates on which they feed - for example, sponges, bryozoans, hydroids and the like. This means that nudibranch and flatworm diversity in a given area may act as a useful indicator of overall marine diversity and habitat health. But we really need to know more about the 350+ nudibranch species, and the unknown number of flatworm species, which inhabit Victorian waters.

A concise summary of the introductory material on these pages, in a format more suited for printing, is available as a series of information sheets on the resources and contacts page.

These web pages were first published online on 17 December 2004. Updates have been made through 2005 and 2006, especially to the species represented in the nudibranch photograph galleries. We hope soon to be able to provide more detailed information, including distribution maps. Please revisit regularly

Robert Burn has now completed A checklist and bibliography of the Opisthobranchia (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Victoria and the Bass Strait area, south-eastern Australia which was published (as a freely available pdf document for download) during November. A copy can be found here.