Big identity crisis for the humble nudibranch
Scientists are asking for help in naming a new species of flamboyant sea slug which lives on the edge of north-west Australia.
Dr Nerida Wilson, a senior research scientist in the department of aquatic zoology at the WA Museum, first came across the slug, or nudibranch, while diving 16 years ago.
Dr Wilson said it was an unforgettable encounter.
“It has an impressive display to scare off predators,” she said. “But it’s taken all these years to actually get the time to scientifically confirm that it is a new species. “And now all we need is the name.
“Everyone who comes in contact with nudibranchs ends up thinking that they’re the coolest animal in the world.”
The WA Museum is running a competition to name the nudibranch, along with ABC Radio National’s Off Track science program.
Off Track host Ann Jones said the nudibranch was one of the weirdest creatures she’d ever seen.
“It has ice blue sausages all over its back, it’s a hermaphrodite, it does an amazing dance when it’s threatened where it waves its sausages around and it goes through a metamorphoses sort of like a butterfly,” she said.
For more information on the competition visit museum.wa.gov.au/name-this-creature.