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New “nudie” named in honour of Coffs Harbour scientist


a brightly coloured Nudibranch


Imagine having a newly recorded cute, colourful critter named in your honour.

That’s what happened to DPI Fisheries scientist Dr Matt Nimbs recently.

Dr Nimbs found the previously unrecorded species while surveying sea slugs for fieldwork during his Honours in 2015.

Now called Polycera nimbsi, the species Dr Nimbs found is a type of nudibranch, a mollusc species that unlike most well-known molluscs, such as snails and oysters, lack a shell as an adult.

Dr Nimbs said he was chuffed to find out that the newly described nudibranch species now partially carries his name.

“I’m very happy that a colourful, albeit diminutive one [nudibranch] is named in my honour,” he said.

“I collected and photographed these animals nearly 10 years ago and they have only just now been used for a new species description. So, things in the taxonomic world can move slowly,” Dr Nimbs said.

Polycera nimbsi can be found in shallow waters between the Sunshine Coast to around Port Stephens.

They have generally orange bodies, and black tips to the gills, rhinophores (head tentacles) and oral tentacles that resemble a curly moustache.

“I think the oral tentacles are very ‘Daliesque’ and lend it a distinguishing appearance,” Dr Nimbs added.

However, according to Dr Nimbs, they’re not the average species snorkellers or divers would come across.

“They are found under rocks in shallow water and occasionally deeper, where they probably eat bryozoans so I wouldn’t expect them to be found by many people unless they specifically look for it.”

It’s the vibrant colours and fine details that draw Dr Nimbs to nudibranchs.

“Sea slugs, including nudibranchs, are the easter eggs of the sea. In the otherwise rather dull colours of the ocean floor, they seem to pop like they are covered in coloured foil,” he said.

“When you get photos of them on a computer screen you can see the fine detail of their appearance. In that way, they can be astounding. They never cease to amaze me.”

Dr Matt Nimbs is an invertebrate taxonomist and marine molecular biologist looking at the changes among marine species genomes driven by the effects of climate change as part of our Climate change research project.

He has written many works on sea slugs, including a well-referenced inventory of the NSW and Lord Howe Island sea slug fauna, complete with photographs, which everybody can access as a free PDF - for NSW or Lord Howe Island.


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