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The stylish Spanish shawl © WaterFrame/Alamy
Today we"re meeting one of a motley group of sea slugs called the nudibranchs (rhymes with "thanks"), known for their unique, often complex shapes and neon-bright colors that help discourage predators. The Spanish shawl"s fire-orange mane is made up of tendrils called cerata that mainly act as gills. But that mane also retains venom from the slug"s prey—sea anemones—treating any would-be devourers to a painful sting. Should a ravenous sea star disregard these defenses and get too close for comfort, the Spanish shawl has a Plan B: By flapping its whole 2- to 3-inch body like a gelatinous wing, the nudibranch can flutter into open water for a quick escape.