A volunteer with The Rock Pool Project in Falmouth, England discovered quite an extraordinary sight while turning over rocks at the end of the day. Underneath a large rock covered in seaweed, Vicky Barlow says she caught sight of something “extremely bright and unusual.” She then captured video and several photos of a rare rainbow sea slug, marking only the fourth time this creature has been recorded in the U.K.
The sea slug, which is known as Babakina anadoni, is a member of the aeolid nudibranch family. These creatures are characterized by their bright colors and unusual shapes. They’re most often found in warm sea waters and were originally spotted off the coast of Portugal, Spain, and France. However, warming sea waters have led them to appear around the U.K., with the first sighting coming in August of 2022.
Barlow and The Rock Pool Project say that these small but rare rainbow sea slugs have been spotted a handful of times by divers and snorkelers since that first sighting. However, this is the first known time that a rock pooler has discovered one in the U.K. The onlookers watched the creature navigate its way across the overturned rock before eventually returning it to its home.
“It’s absolutely amazing what you can find on our rocky shores,” Barlow wrote in a blog detailing the discovery. “Today was a perfect example of the incredible wildlife we have on our doorstep here in Cornwall,” Barlow continued.
The spotting of this rare rainbow sea slug is not only exciting for the rock poolers, but Barlow also says there were no previous records for the species on the National Biodiversity Network. Therefore, the video, which is featured above, may very well be the first. You can check it out yourself for a look at this beautiful and colorful rare creature.
These aren’t the only creatures seeing changes caused by the warming of sea waters. Some reports say that warming oceans worldwide may also be pushing dolphins to the brink.