‘Nudibranch hunter’ shares stunning images of Indonesia’s colourful and quirky sea slugs

By Candice Marshall October 11, 2022
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The only trophies this hunter collects are photographs.

Underwater photographer Òscar Montferrer has spent years developing his craft, diving into oceans around the globe, documenting the marine life below the surface.

But while the sea has its big celebrities, it’s the lesser-known characters that Òscar chooses to photograph, hoping to play a small part in their conservation, by way of raising their profiles.

“The big guys – whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles… they already have big PR teams that speak for them,” Oscar tells Australian Geographic.

“The little guys don’t get the attention. So I try to change that a little bit.

“I firmly believe that if you love something, you will take care of it. But to love it, you have to know about it first.”

One creature that has stolen Òscar’s heart is the nudibranch.

“I’ve been interested in them for so many years now and the passing of the time hasn’t tarnished my interest. It is the contrary, in fact, the more I see, the more I know I haven’t seen yet, so it’s a never-ending affair.”

Nudibranchs (Nudibranchia), or sea slugs, are found in oceans worldwide, usually in shallow waters. There’s more than 2000 known species of the weird and wonderful marine molluscs.

While living in the Mediterranean, Òscar often travels to Indonesia, which is where this set of nudibranch photographs (in the above gallery) were taken.

“The area enjoys the benefits of being in the touching point of three different oceans. That provides the biggest amount of different species. Besides that, the weather is perfect.”

Òscar calls himself a ‘nudibranch hunter’.

“The pictures of the nudibranchs can be classified as muck diving pictures. Muck diving means that you roam over the sand, over areas with debris that you would never put on the front side of a postcard, and away from the reefs,” he explains.

“There’s nothing wrong with the reefs, of course, but there’s a lot of species of nudibranchs that don’t live there.”

Related: Beguiling beauties: nudibranchs