Herrera and Sheridan sent samples to Dr. Angel Valdes of California State Polytechnic University and he verified the species had never been documented.
“The opportunity to work with Dr. Valdes, a world-class nudibranch expert, has been really exciting for us,” said Joan Herrera, FWRI curator of collections. “At FWRI, we receive thousands of specimens each year yet it is rare to find a species that is new to science.”
The article about C. fentoni appeared in the 2011 volume of the “American Malacological Bulletin” published March 31. The article also notes FWRI biologists found another species of nudibranch called Glossodoris punctilucens. This species had not been documented since 1890, except once in a photograph.
A member of the phylum Mollusca, adult nudibranchs have external gills and no shell. They typically feed on sponges, corals, anemones and other sea life. Nudibranchs come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from 1/8-inch to 2 feet in length. C. fentoni is a colorful creature with bright red markings on an off-white background. Its oblong body reaches an approximate length of 1 inch.
Fact BoxFor more information on nudibranchs, visit MyFWC.com/Research, and search “Nudibranchs of Florida.”