Scientists discover 5 new species of sea slugs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific

A Cerberilla sea slugFrom the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the USA:

The Tropical Eastern Pacific, a discrete biogeographic region that has an extremely high rate of endemism among its marine organisms, continues to yield a wealth of never-before-described marine animals to visiting scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Alicia Hermosillo, researcher at the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico, and Angel Valdes, assistant curator of Malacology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, describe five newly discovered species of nudibranchs, two of which Hermosillo collected in Panama, in Volume 22 of the American Malacological Bulletin.

Nudibranchs—a group of mollusks lacking outer shells—have developed sophisticated chemical defense mechanisms, which is particularly important because promising industrial and medicinal products have been isolated from known species.

New species may provide cures for diseases that are currently untreatable. …

A list of the new species (and one still to be classified) that are completely described in the publication follows:

* Cerberilla chavezi sp. was collected from the Bahia de Santiago, Colima in Mexico and is named for Roberto Chavez, who provided assistance during fieldwork and suggested dive sites.

* Cuthona destinyae came out of hull scrapings from the M/V Destiny in La Gordornia, Guerrero, Mexico, and thus, is named for the boat.

* Cuthona millenae, named for Sandra Millen for her knowledge of Pacific nudibranchs, was collected from under a rock at 19m depth in the Bahia de Banderas, Jalisco-Nayarit, Mexico.

* Cuthona behrensi, a beautiful white specimen with white-tipped rhinophores named for nudibranch specialist Dave Behrens, who supported the research effort, was found by Alicia Hermosillo under a rock at 13m depth at Los Frailes, Golfo de Chiriqui, Panama.

* Eubranchus yolandae was collected from Los Arcos, Bahia de Banderas, Jalisco-Nayarit, Mexico, from a rock wall at a depth of 17m.

This species was named for Yolanda Camacho-Garcia for her contributions to the knowledge of Pacific ophistobranchs.

* Herviella sp., was photographed and collected by Alicia Hermosillo from a floating buoy southeast of Isla Coiba, Coiba National Park, Panama.

The new species status and naming of this animal awaits the discovery of additional specimens.

Smithsonian coral biodiversity survey of Panama’s Pearl Islands: here.

Mating behaviour in the sea slug Elysia timida (Opisthobranchia, Sacoglossa): hypodermic injection, sperm transfer and balanced reciprocity: here.

Scientists suspect that the green sea slug (Elysia chlorotica) is guilty of kleptoplasty—the stealing of genetic material from another organism: here.

2 thoughts on “Scientists discover 5 new species of sea slugs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific

  1. Sea lizards found in Cudgera Creek

    James Perkins | 22nd March 2010

    TINY sea lizards that feast on blue bottles have been found in Cudgera Creek.

    Glauca sea lizards feast on bluebottle stingers and then can use the sting as an offensive or defensive weapon.
    Courtesy Tim Jack Adams

    TINY sea lizards that feast on blue bottles have been found in Cudgera Creek.

    The metallic blue creatures, called glaucas, often wash up on beaches with blue bottles and may be mistaken for jellyfish themselves, but they are a type of nudibranch sea lizard, which feast on the blue stingers.

    Tim Jack Adams, director of Watersports Guru, saw the creatures alive for the first time last week at Hastings Point while on a snorkelling expedition with a group of students.

    “This is the first time I have seen them alive on the coast, it is really amazing,” Mr Adams said.

    “These really are some of the most incredible creatures I had ever seen.”

    “You wouldn’t know what they were until you saw them alive and studied them.”

    Mr Adams said he was stoked to have found the creatures while he was with the kids, as they got an opportunity to study them.

    Ted Brambleby, of the Marine Environments Field Study and Resource Centre Hastings Point, said the glauca was a special breed of nudibranch which floated on the ocean film and lived with the blue bottle.

    “It feeds on the blue bottle’s tentacles capturing in the process un-discharged nematocysts (stinging cells) and incorporates them into one or more of the many cul-de-sac-like branches of their intestines,” Mr Brambleby said.

    “These branches extend out into finger like growths that not only enable the sea lizard to float but can be used as a means to discharge the pirateered blue bottle stinging cells for its own offence or defence.

    “The tentacles of the blue bottle regenerate itself after ingestion by the sea lizard.”


  2. Pingback: New coral species discovery in Panama | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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