The DigiVol blog series features stories about our Volunteer Digitisation program that includes the DigiVol Lab and DigiVol Online.

DigiVol recently scanned new slides from the extensive collection of this AM malacology trailblazer.

Nudibranch slides #1 by Dr Bill Rudman
Nudibranch slides #1 by Dr Bill Rudman Image: Dr Bill Rudman
© Australian Museum

Dr Bill Rudman, a former Australian Museum Curator of Malacology and now a Research Associate, has studied opisthobranch gastropod molluscs and named many species of nudibranchs. There are about 2,300 valid species of nudibranchs and they are appreciated for their extraordinary colours and different forms.

Most nudibranchs are carnivorous and picky eaters with some individual species or families only eating one kind of prey. Some get their bright colours from the food they eat and these colours may be used for camouflage or as a warning to predators.

Nudibranchs are very difficult, and often impossible, to identify when they are preserved as museum specimens because they lose all their colour. Bill Rudman’s dedication to amassing such a comprehensive collection of nudibranch images over many years as part of his research enabled him to make a significant taxonomic contribution to understanding the fascinating world of nudibranchs and has gifted a unique legacy to the Australian Museum.

In 1997, Bill pioneered and initiated a new, internet based system for collecting, assembling and disseminating information opisthobranchs. The establishment of the Sea Slug Forum website by Bill rapidly became the authoritative source of information for scientists.

Nudibranch slides #2 by Dr Bill Rudman
Clockwise l-r: Glossodoris atromarginata, Ardeadoris egretta, Chromodoris tasmaniensis, Chromodoris magnifica. Image: Dr Bill Rudman
© Australian Museum