A RARE sea slug has been discovered at the Ecréhous, the third new species for Jersey waters in the past year.
In one of the larger tidal pools near La Hau reef, conservationist Nick Jouault turned a stone and discovered the Atagema gibba, which was later formally identified and verified by experts.
Mr Jouault said that the specimen was unusual, in that it was discovered at the low-tide mark, with it normally being found on steep rock faces in eight to 15 metres of water.
The specimen was also lighter in colour, as it is usually chocolate brown. There have only been four previous records of the species in the British Isles: two off Cornwall, and two off Sark by wildlife photographer and filmmaker Sue Daly.
Mr Jouault said: ‘It can easily be identified from other sea slugs, in that it has pronounced bumps along its back, which is where it gets its Latin name, gibba, from, meaning hunchback. The French common name Doris bosse also covers this, with bosse meaning hunchback.’
The Société Jersiaise marine biology section member has also discovered and recorded two other sea slug species in the last 12 months: the colourful Berghia coerulescens last August, which was the first official sighting in the British Isles, and the small grey-coloured Pruvotfolia pselliotes, which was incidentally also found with the Atagema gibba on the same rock and is another first for Jersey waters.