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Thursday April 18, 2024

Scientists discover new sea slug species in UK waters

Scientists believe that continuous consequences of climate change are what caused it to wander so far north

By Web Desk
March 03, 2024
Pleurobranchaea Britannica, the new species of sea slug. — Sky News via CEFAS/File
Pleurobranchaea Britannica, the new species of sea slug. — Sky News via CEFAS/File

Scientists have discovered a new species of sea slug in the waters of the United Kingdom. The new sea creature named "Pleurobranchaea Britannica" was found during a routine fishery survey in southwest England, Sky News reported.

Previously, it was believed that only two species of the pleurobranchid genus of sea slug existed, of which none were ever seen in UK waters.

Ross Bullimore of the Centre for Environment, Food and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) made the serendipitous discovery.

According to researchers, the new species of slug, Pleurobranchaea Britannica, is between two and five centimetres long and has gills on its side.

According to a report published by CEFAS, "the discovery marks the first recorded instance of a sea slug from the Pleurobranchaea genus in UK waters."

Although there are other widespread species of sea slugs, this particular variety is more commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea's warmer waters. 

Scientists believe that the continuous consequences of climate change are what caused it to wander so far north.

Upon first analysis, scientists believed they had found a new species, but subsequent studies revealed it was a standalone species.

To protect themselves from predators, some sea slugs will recycle parts of the prey they eat. If they eat prey that has toxins, for example, they will secrete the poison into their own skin.