A NSW Government website - NSW Marine Estate

Instagram NSW Marine Estate

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.

Latest news

Seeing the light – assessing coastal water quality from afar

Long days, difficult weather and almost 900 kilometres of coastline between sites.That’s what scientists from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and CSIRO were up against on their recent quest to develop “spectral profiles” of coastal waters for NSW.


NSW coastal floodplains studies now available

Interested in finding out about NSW coastal floodplain areas? Then check out the recently released NSW Coastal Floodplain Prioritisation Study for your local area.


New research to make boating “moor” seagrass safe

Transport for NSW is heading underwater in an exciting collaboration with the CSIRO to investigate, design and trial different types of environmentally friendly boat moorings to make sure they are safe and dependable, as well as able to protect seagrass and other marine habitats.