Scientists have discovered a species of sea slug in England

Scientists have discovered a species of sea slug in England

During routine research in fishing grounds in southwest England and the Gulf of Cadiz, scientists from the UK Center for Environment, Food and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the University of Cadiz in Spain collected 14 specimens of marine slugs.

Of the more than 100 known species of marine slugs found in British waters, this new species is called… British gill pleuraIt is characterized by its cream and clay color with small white dots.

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“When Sivas scientists contacted me and told me that they had collected individuals belonging to the sea slug genus Gill pleuraBut his specific identity was not clear, I was really surprised,” said Dr. Juan Lucas Cervera Corrado from the University of Cádiz. IFL Science.

“Firstly, because species of this genus had never been found in the British Isles, and secondly, because the possibility of finding new species of this genus in European waters was really exciting,” Corrado said.

How was the new species discovered?

  • Initially, researchers thought it might be another well-known species,… Gill pleuromekeleBut the presence of a small side gill raised questions about its true identity;
  • The samples were sent to a team in Spain, where they were genetically analyzed and compared to other known species;
  • Then it was confirmed that it was a new species;
  • Currently, this type Gill pleura It has three known types.

It is exciting to see that routine fisheries surveys still lead to such discoveries. A short examination of two specimens was enough to confirm that we had found one of these species Gill pleura. This was exciting, because no other species of this genus had been documented in UK waters, or even this far north.

Ross Bullimore, a marine ecologist at Cephas and co-author of the article describing the sea slug, said in a statement sent to IFLScience

Photo: Ross Bullimore ©

Sea slug

Sea slugs are colorful and diverse animals that can have amazing characteristics and unique appearances.

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Furthermore, some can use the characteristics of their prey, such as photosynthesis or toxins, to their own advantage.

“There is often an assumption that we know everything there is to know about species found in UK waters, but this shows that there is still a lot to learn in our own backyard,” Bullimore said.

The discovery of this new species increases knowledge of the fauna found in British waters and highlights the importance of continuing studies in the area.

The research was published in Animal systems and evolution.

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