Divers who appreciate exotic nudibranchs could be on to a good thing in the sea off south-west England this summer. In early August, Seasearch scuba diver Allen Murray recorded the first confirmed UK sighting of the multi-coloured Babakina anadoni off the Scilly Isles, as reported on Divernet, and now another specimen has been spotted off western Cornwall.
Local snorkeller Kymm Sandum photographed and video'ed the sea slug on 28 August, although she was reluctant to reveal the exact location in case it put it at risk. She told Cornwall Live that its bright colour scheme had caught her eye when she looked up from the stalked jellyfish she had been watching, though at first she had thought it must be a discarded fishing lure.
“I was totally stunned when I saw it and thought what a great find,” she said. “It wasn't until I got home that I found out it was quite an important find.”
Before August Babakina anadoni, a member of the Aeolid family, had been recorded only a handful of times, along Spain’s west coast and further south in the Atlantic, according to Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Its marine conservation officer Matt Slater, who also co-ordinates the Seasearch programme for Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, described the 2cm nudibranch as “one of the prettiest sea slugs I’ve seen”.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust encourages divers to record their underwater sightings in the county through ORKS (Online Recording Kernow and Scilly). You can also find out more about becoming a Seasearch volunteer diver.