Dutch sea slugs update


Cuthona foliata, photo: Peter H van Bragt

Translated from Stichting ANEMOON in the Netherlands, Sunday 18 August 2013:

Spring and summer are ideal seasons to spot sea slugs in the Dutch coastal waters. For many recreational divers, they are the gems among the molluscs. Being colourful and photogenic, they are also attractive subjects for underwater photographers to immortalize them digitally. For recreational divers with an interest in the development of our marine biodiversity, they are also very interesting because the population of the Dutch sea slugs changes much every year. Time for a provisional update to the most remarkable species of 2013 to date.

Perhaps the most prominent species of 2013 so far is an individual of the species Cuthona foliata in the southwestern Oosterschelde estuary. This is the first sighting of this species in the Oosterschelde ever. The species was found in 2011 for the first time in the Grevelingen lake, but has not been found there again since. It remains therefore a very rare species for our coastal waters.

A series of exceptional observations concerns Facelina auriculata snails. It is a species that was discovered only in 1992 for the first time in the Oosterschelde. Since 2001, this colorful species has been observed regularly. But it is still scarce. In 2011 and 2012 the number of observations increased and in 2013 it became a common species in the Oosterschelde. Every month it was observed frequently and the numbers exceed even those of Facelina bostoniensis, a closely related common species which has been known for much longer to live in our coastal waters. In the Grevelingen lake and the Veerse meer lake is the species has not yet been observed. Its preferred food, the oaten pipes hydroid, does not occur there.

Facelina auriculata, photo: Peter H van Bragt

The Palio nothus and orange-clubbed nudibranch snails are special species. Though scarce, they have been observed in the Oosterschelde in recent years, Both species have survived the winter well. Especially of Palio nothus, this spring there have been remarkable sightings from the central Oosterschelde.

13 thoughts on “Dutch sea slugs update

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