In what is believed to be a world-first, the Australian public will be stamping their personal imprint on biological history, and ‘naming a creature’ that is new to science.
Off Track, ABC RN’s environmental science program, in conjunction with the Western Australian Museum, is running a competition to name the species.
It’s a nudibranch — a type of flambouyant sea slug which lives around the edge of North West Australia.
Dr Nerida Wilson, Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Aquatic Zoology at the Western Australian Museum noticed the nudibranch while diving off the edge of North West Australia.
“It was16 years ago on a trip to Dampier when I first saw it, and I knew it was different to all the other nudibranchs straight away,” says Dr Wilson.
“But it’s taken all these years to actually get the time to scientifically confirm that it is a new species. And now all we need is the name!
“Everyone who comes in contact with nudibranchs ends up thinking that they’re the coolest animal in the world, and that’s exactly what happened to Ann Jones, host of RN’s Off Track, when I told her about this creature,” says Dr Wilson.
“This nudibranch is one of the weirdest creatures I’ve ever come across — it has ice blue sausages all over its back, it’s a hermaphrodite, it does an amazing dance when it’s threatened where it waves its sausages around and it goes through a metamorphoses sort of like a butterfly,” says Dr Jones.
“We are asking people listen to Off Track and watch a video about the unnamed nudibranch, featuring the first film ever captured of the creature in its natural environment, and to send in their best idea for the name of this species.
“There are so many things it could be named — and I can’t wait to hear what the public comes up with.”
Entries close 15 August 2016.