Marine biologist Jeff Goddard discovered a new species of sea slug in the tide pools of Carpinteria Reef in California. It is only about 15 millimeters long. He said, “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.” (Source: UCSB)
Only one of the new species was found, so more research is needed to find out where they hide, what they eat, how many there are, and how they interact.
Goddard knew it was most likely a new species, and he sent the specimen to scientist Terrence M. Gosliner, a taxonomist from California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Gosliner recognized it as a new species and gave it the name Flabellina goddardi. Gosliner wrote in the scientific report, “Flabellina goddardi is named for friend and colleague Jeff Goddard who found the only specimen of this distinctive species. Jeff is the consummate naturalist with superb powers of observation.” It is now the fifth species of Flabellina in California.
Gosliner is also an expert in nudibranch species. He does research in the Phillipines where there are 700 species documented so far.
There are enough nudibranch species in California you can purchase ID cards to take on trips to tide pools. These cards are designed to help nature enthusiasts appreciate the biodiversity of Californi’s coasts. Nudibranch sea slugs are often colorful and have textured surfaces. Goldenstate Images has a gallery of sea slugs in California. Photo tips for the brightly colored creatures have been written by Scott Gietler.
Image Credit: Jeff Goddard, UCSB