Posted by: stiltsville | April 1, 2011

New nudibranch discovered in Gulf of Mexico

Chromodoris fentoni

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), along with scientists from California State Polytechnic University, have identified a new marine species found in the Gulf of Mexico. A scientific publication released Thursday officially announced the discovery of Chromodoris fentoni, a type of shell-less snail known as a nudibranch.

FWC biologists first observed this nudibranch when commercial aquarium-trade fisherman Daniel Fenton of Brandon donated sponges and other specimens to the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in St. Petersburg in 2009. Fenton collected the specimens from the Gulf of Mexico, off Tarpon Springs. While sorting through the donation, FWRI biologists Nancy Sheridan and Joan Herrera observed the unusual creature.

A member of the phylum Mollusca, adult nudibranchs have external gills and no shell. They typically feed on sponges, corals, anemones and other sea life. Nudibranchs come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from 1/8-inch to 2 feet in length. C. fentoni is a colorful creature with bright red markings on an off-white background. Its oblong body reaches an approximate length of 1 inch.

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