Epic fail - new species vanished

The newspaper Bergens Tidende last night told the world about my epic fail: A possible new nudibranch species that got lost during the Nudibranch Safari in March 2013.

Posted on Apr 10, 2013

The story focused on a possible new Janolus nudibranch found at the Nudibranch Safari - and an unfortunate mishap: The nudibranch was collected and put in a storage tank to be looked at more closely later. But the next day it had vanished!

No doubt an epic fail on my part; I should have put it in a separate container to avoid this. Unfortunately, this pretty much ruins our chances to find out what species this is, at least as far as DNA goes.

Bergens Tidende found this hilarious and published this on the front page:

In English, the title reads: "It was inexperienced. Christian Skauge found what he believes is an entirely new species. Then he lost it."

The story headed their website for more than four hours last night, and has around 10.000 hits so far. People sure like to read about other people messing up :-)

New Janolus species?

The strange-looking animal is just 5-6 mm long and resembles the extremely rare Proctonotus mucroniferus - but it has one feature which makes this unlikely: A caruncle.

This is wart-like protrusion sitting between the rhinophores (head tentacles) is unique for Janolus. Since it is there, we had no choice but to place the find in this genus.

Although unsharp in this picture, there is no doubt this species has a carunkle between its head tentacles. This determines that is has to be a Janolus species.

The only problem is, it doesn't look like any of the other species in this genus found in our part of the world. I'm working on this and hope to come back soon with an update.

I just have to find another one...

There is basically only one possible solution to rectify this blunder: I'll have to get in the water and try to find it again. Easier said than done, but I will do it!

Luckily we have good images both from the Nudibranch Safari and an earlier trip to Austevoll south of Bergen. This will hopefully be enough to determine if it's a new species or not.

After it was gone, someone said "Don't worry - it was just the only one in the world!"

» Click here to read more at Bergens Tidende (Norwegian only)

Screenshot from the website of Bergens Tidende from April 9, 2013
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