This marks the third official sighting of the species within British waters.
The first sighting occurred just a year ago when a volunteer Seasearch diver, as part of the Wildlife Trust Seasearch initiative by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, was documenting the biodiversity around the Isles of Scilly. The second sighting happened by chance when a snorkeler was in the waters west of Cornwall. The third and final sighting took place in a rockpool in Falmouth, where a rockpool guide discovered a brightly colourful nudibranch hidden under the seaweed. This is the first nudibranch of its kind discovered in such a situation.
Babakina anhedonia is a rainbow-colored sea slug that forms part of the aeolid nudibranch family. It is known to occupy sub-tropical climates, especially in the Mediterranean Sea as it prefers warmer water. However, the specie is listed as extremely rare and has been totally recorded only a handful of times across Spain and parts along the South Atlantic coast. The gastropod measures just about 2cm long and is known for its rainbow kaleidoscope and irregular features.
Dr. Ben Holt, director of the Rock Pool Project, explained how the southwest coasts of the United Kingdom have experienced significant biodiversity changes with the warming of the planet, throughout the past five years. It is expected that in the near future, more of the Babakina anadoni will be spotted along the British coast as warmer water migrates toward the Arctic.
Seasearch is a project led and managed by the Marine Conservation Society with the aim of protecting and managing underwater life. They encourage divers and snorkelers interested in exploring the British and Irish coast to record and share information about marine biodiversity. Seasearch offers training courses for individuals interested in volunteering for their expeditions, catering to all academic levels. Anyone can volunteer, as the training provided educates interested candidates on the necessary information requirements. By simply becoming a Seasearch volunteer, anyone can make a difference in safeguarding our oceans for future generations.
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