The waters of the World Ocean have been slowly rising which is deeply affecting a large number of marine creatures. But around the coast of California there is one creature that isn’t just unaffected by the high temperatures, it is loving the change: the rare pink sea slug.
The pink sea slug is a Hopkins’ Rose nudibranch, Okeni rosacea in particular, is common in the waters of Southern California, but quire rare north of San Francisco and Central California.
Now, the numbers of pink sea slugs have reached an all-time high since El Ninos hit in 1983 and 1998. The Academy of Sciences have confirmed that there is a large population of pink sea slugs present in tide pools from San Luis Obispo to Humboldt counties.
Southern California is usually the perfect ground for these pink sea slugs that bear an uncanny resemblance to an underwater pink flower; the waters of Southern California are perfect because they are warmer when compared to the waters of Northern California. But now, it appears that the Northern coast of California has become perfect for the pink sea slugs due to global warming.
While scientists admit that it is great to see the population of pink sea slugs flourishing, it is also very unnerving to know that the current climate conditions are going to have adverse impacts on all marine ecosystems and are also going to affect food availability for sea birds. Academy Curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology and lead author of the study, Dr. Terry Gosliner added:
While we are thrilled to see this beautiful bloom of normally-rare nudibranchs, we are concerned about the long term consequences of our changing coastal environment.
Pink sea slugs have no oral tentacles and the dorsal surface is covered with long and soft papillae that taper to a rounded tip. Pink sea slugs grow to approximately 30 mm in length.
Image Source: Sea Slug Forum
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