Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Newly Discovered Sea Life Off Phillipines

If you are not impressed with land slugs you might change your mind when you see the biological diversity and beauty of marine sea slugs. One type of sea slug or nudibranch is the Chelidonura alexisi, a speckled specimen that looks a bit like an elegant topological map. According to research team leader, Terry Gosliner, PhD, senior curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the California Academy of Sciences and a principal investigator of the expedition, Chelidonura alexisi joins the ranks of 40 more previously unknown nudibranchs discovered in the waters off the Phillipines. 

“The Philippines is jam-packed with diverse and threatened species—it’s one of the most astounding regions of biodiversity on Earth,” reports Gosliner to the California Academy of Sciences. 

Nudibranchs can be tiny to nearly a foot in length. They can blend into their surroundings or vivid as flamenco dancers in a variety of colors. Check out their great variety on this Pinterest link

Nudibranchs get their bright colors from their prey (e.g., algae, sponges and anemones to barnacles, corals and other nudibranchs). 
Although sea slugs aren’t speedy predators, they are far from helpless. Highly sensitive tentacles, called rhinophores, allow them to smell, taste and feel their way around. These sensory appendages also pick up chemical signals that help them "spot" prey. 

Just when some people thought we had discovered most of the undersea species, discoveries like the Phillipines' new nudibranchs and fish are found. Stay tuned for more. Go science!

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