We have some amazingly colourful, weirdly shaped and wonderful creatures living in waters near our coast. To call them sea slugs almost amounts to an insult for nudibranchs (shell-less molluscs with gills on their backs) are among the most beautiful of animals, and sea hares come in a huge array of shapes and sizes.
Nature Coast Marine Group members took part in the Sea Slug Census that was conducted on the south coast in January and organised by Libby Hepburn and Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness. Matt Nimbs, an expert on this group of animals, gave fascinating talks about them at Eden and Narooma and led a search in Wagonga Inlet.
The Census is discovering that some of the sea slugs are being found further south than was previously thought, probably due to the rapidly warming waters off the south coast.
You can read a report about what was found this year and see some photos by going to https://atlasoflife.org.au/news-events/2019/1/31/jan-2019-sea-slug-census-preliminary-report.
Prior to the official start of the Census Nature Coast marine Group divers brought up a very strange sea hare at the What’s Under The Wharf event at Narooma. It had everyone puzzled until it started squirting purple ink. The aptly named Ink-pot Sea Hare,Dolabella auricularia, does this to protect itself from predators.
Above: Ink-pot Sea Hare - Photo by Justin Gilligan
Above: Photos from the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness - Two nudibranchs - Spurila braziliana and Tambja cf.verconis