We were only able to have a quick visit to the rockpools behind Apollo Bay harbour on this trip. I’d read that other people had found multiple nudibranchs here and was keen to finally find one.
We did find a sea slug but, alas, it wasn’t a nudibranch. I quickly surmised that it was a sea hare. I guessed that it was Aplysia Parvula, based on similar specimens I had seen before. I wasn’t experienced enough to be sure of that identification.
I was about to put it online when I saw someone comment on different photos of a sea hare. In that post, the person mentioned that there had been a recent paper regarding Aplysia parvula. Many specimens that had previously been identified as A. Parvula were actually Aplysia concava. They linked to the official paper detailing the species revision. According to that paper, the presence of a highly concave shell is diagnostic.
Cue my overwhelm! I wasn’t experienced enough to know whether a shell was concave or not. These photos were mostly from the one angle so didn’t really help. I put it both on Facebook and iNaturalist.
Facebook didn’t yield any results, but iNaturalist did. I’m often skeptical about iNaturalist and question a lot of the identifications. In this case, however, one ID was made by Matt Nimbs. The author of the aforementioned paper.
Case closed! I’m still overwhelmed, but at least I have a definitive ID and know what to look for in the future. I love marine science. 🙂