A "photogenic and flamboyant" new species of sea slug has been found in waters off North Western Australia, according to the Western Australian Museum.
The discovery shows that even very distinctive animals can go undiscovered over long periods, particularly if they live in more remote or less-traveled locations.
In this case, Nerida Wilson, a senior research scientist at the museum, first noticed the nudibranch while diving. That was 16 years ago. It's taken this long to scientifically confirm that the colorful creature is a new species.
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Now the race is on to name the new marine species, and the public is asked to help.
The museum, along with Radio Nation's "Off Track" program, is holding a contest to determine the second part of the slug's name. The genus for the new nudibranch species is Moridilla, so they are looking for Moridilla x, with you filling in the "x." (Scientists use the letters "sp" in place of the "x" when referring to a species that hasn't been fully named yet.)
Below are some examples of what common complete scientific names look like:
Humans = Homo sapiens; Domestic cats = Felis catus Some pretty awful entries have come in so far. One media outlet suggested something like Moridilla mcslug. You can do better! The competition closes at the end of Sunday, Aug. 14, U.S. ET time (23:59 Australia time on Monday, Aug. 15).
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In addition to the honor of naming the nudibranch, the winner will also receive two flights to Perth, Australia, hotel and transportation -- plus a private tour of the museum to see the specimen.
"Off Track" and the museum recently released the first ever video of the animal: