Two-headed sea slug discovery off Malaysia

This video says about itself:

Borneo From Below: Ep 02 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Sea Slug!

11 August 2015

World’s weirdest nudibranch found off Borneo.

Have you ever seen anything quite as bizarre as this two-headed sea slug!? With over 3,000 species and coming in all shapes, sizes and colours, nudibranchs are fascinating critters. Some steal their prey’s defences to use as their own, whilst others power themselves using the sun. And now Scubazoo’s presenter Aaron “Bertie” Gekoski discovers they can even grow TWO HEADS! Come and see the weird world of nudis in Episode 2 of Borneo From Below, which includes this world-first. Found off the coast of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

Two heads are better than one! Double-headed psychedelic sea slug is discovered off the coast of Borneo

Two-headed sea slug with neon colouring was found near a sandbar off the coast of Sabah in eastern Malaysian Borneo
Abnormality may have been caused by a birth defect or even pollution
Creature also has two sets of sexual organs – one male and one female

By Sarah Griffiths

Published: 17:05 GMT, 14 August 2015 | Updated: 17:05 GMT, 14 August 2015

Divers have discovered what is believed to be the world’s first two-headed sea slug.

A diver came across the psychedelic creature near a sandbar called Kapalai off the coast of Sabah in eastern Malaysian Borneo.

The abnormality may have been caused by a birth defect or even pollution.

Divers have discovered what is believed to be the world's first two-headed sea slug (pictured). The psychedelic creature is thought to have two heads sue to a birth defect or even pollution

As well as having two heads, the slug, or nudibranch as they are also known, also possesses both female and male sex organs because all nudibranches are hermaphrodites.

The creature, measuring around an inch-long (2.5cm) is part of the species Nembrotha kubaryana, but is more commonly known as a variable neon slug due to its incredible colouring of neon green and bright orange which warns predators of their toxicity.

They feed on sea squirts – tiny creatures with bag-like bodies – removing chemicals from them which it then stores, before exuding as a slimy mucus if it is threatened by predators.

Dive master Nash Baiti made the find while he was working for film company Scubazoo, making a new series called ‘Borneo from Below’.

He showed the creature to Clay Bryce, a nudibranch expert and marine biologist at the Western Australian Museum in Perth.

‘I have never seen another two headed marine creature like this before and I have spent 10,000 hours underwater chasing nudibranchs,’ said Mr Bryce.

‘Usually this sort of deformity sets the animal up for an early death, but it does appear to be adult or at least sub-adult so perhaps this is a case of two heads being better than one,’ he quipped.

‘It is a birth defect. Just a slight mix up of genes or perhaps damage caused by pollution.

‘However, the latter one would expect more incidences to have occurred.’

The crew were searching for the island’s most interesting underwater inhabitants to feature in their film, but had not expected to find a one-off.

The film’s presenter, Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski said: ‘When Nash came back from the dive and reported his find we didn’t believe him at first!

‘Due to our film schedule we couldn’t get out there for another 72 hours, so were very sceptical that it would be found again.

‘However, Nash managed to locate it in exactly the same place as before.

‘Perhaps its two heads pulled in different directions, bringing it to an eternal standstill?

‘I spent nearly an hour with the nudibranch, waiting for it to get in the right position for a head shot.

‘It’s not just its two heads, but amazing neon colouring that make it really stand out.’

While the unusual specimen found was just one inch (2.5cm) long, the sea slug species can grow to measure five inches long (12cm).

2 thoughts on “Two-headed sea slug discovery off Malaysia

  1. Pingback: Leopard slugs mating, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: 85 new wildlife species described by California Academy of Sciences in 2017 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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