SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 22 (UPI) — A California marine scientist in Santa Barbara says the new species of sea slug he discovered was practically in his marine “back yard.”
Jeff Goddard, project scientist with the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was working in the tide pools in Carpinteria State Park when he found a new species of nudibranch — a group of sea slugs noted for their bright colors and delicate forms, a university release said Wednesday.
Recognizing it as new, Goddard documented the living specimen before preserving it and sending it off to experts on the taxonomy of sea slugs at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
“The shallow-water nudibranch fauna of Southern California especially is well known, so it was pretty exciting to find a new species right under our noses here in Santa Barbara County,” Goddard said. “Only one specimen was found, so now we need to find out where more are hiding, what they feed on, and whom they interact with.”
Goddard discovered the sea slug in 2008. As with many taxonomic discoveries, the finding often takes a couple of years for documentation, comparison with known species, and publication.
The wait was worth it, as the taxonomic experts have named the new species after Goddard — Flabellina goddardi.
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