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Hexabranchus sanguineus 1.jpg
Hexabranchus sanguineus, 90 cm in length, photographed at night in Bali
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Nudipleura
clade Nudibranchia
clade Euctenidiacea
clade Doridacea
Superfamily: Polyceroidea
Family: Hexabranchidae
Bergh, 1891[1]
Genus: Hexabranchus
Ehrenberg, 1831[2]
2 species

Hexabranchidae is a monotypic family of colorful nudibranchs (often called "sea slugs") which contains only a single genus Hexabranchus, with two species, and has no subfamilies.

This family is one of the many families of dorid nudibranchs in the suborder Doridina, named after Doris, who was a sea nymph in ancient Greek mythology.

The genus contains one of the largest known species of nudibranch in the world, H. sanguineus, which grows up to or exceeding 40 cm in length.[4] This species is known to use chemical defenses derived from the sponge it eats and use the chemical compounds to defend itself from potential fish predators.[5]


There are two species within the genus Hexabranchus:[3]


  1. ^ Bergh R. (1891). "Die cryptobranchiaten Dorididen". Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 6: 103-144.
  2. ^ Ehrenberg C. G. (1828–1831). Symbolae physicae animalia evertebrata exclusis insectis. Series prima cum tabularum decade prima continent animalia Africana et Asiatica. Decas Prima. In ‘Symbolae physicae, seu Icones adhue ineditae corporum naturalium novorum aut minus cognitorum, quae ex itineribus per Libyam, Aegyptum, Nubiam, Dengalam, Syriam, Arabiam et Habessiniam. Pars Zoologica, 4.’ Hemprich F. G. & Ehrenberg C. G. (eds.) Pages unumbered. (Officina Academica: Berlin.) Dates of publication: pls 1–2 [1828], text [1831].
  3. ^ a b c d Valdés Á. (2002). "How many species of Hexabranchus (Opisthobranchia : Dorididae) are there?". Molluscan Research 22(3): 289-301. doi:10.1071/MR02012, PDF.
  4. ^ http://www.seaslugforum.net/hexasang.htm
  5. ^ Pawlik, JR; et al. (1988). "Defensive chemicals of the Spanish Dancer nudibranch, Hexabranchus sanguineus, and its egg ribbons: Macrolides derived from a sponge diet". Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 119: 99–109. doi:10.1016/0022-0981(88)90225-0.