They look something right out of a Disney animated film. But they are very real.
A rare, brightly coloured and tiny sea slug has left scientists stunned after being spotted in UK waters for the first time.
Babakina anadoni is a species of sea slug, an aeolid nudibranch in the family Babakinidae. They are less than half the size of human's little finger and usually live off Spain.
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But recently, they were spotted in the Isles of Scilly. The slugs were captured on camera by Seasearch volunteer Allen Murray during a dive near Melledgan, a rock island in the Isles of Scilly.
"I just knew that it wasn’t something I’d seen before or recognised, and nor did anyone else on the boat when I surfaced. We then checked our ID guides for the UK when we got back to land but without success," Murray told Daily Mail.
The slug has only ever been recorded a number of times along the west coast of Spain and elsewhere in the Atlantic, according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust.
"What an incredible find. We were extremely excited to hear about the sighting of this colourful nudibranch - a species that we believe has never been recorded in the UK before. It's one of the prettiest sea slugs I've seen and given it's less than half the size of your little finger it's amazing Allen spotted it at all," said Matt Slater, Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Co-ordinator of the Seasearch programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Babakina anadoni is normally found in warm waters. The species was first described in 1979 and placed in the genus Rioselleolis but has subsequently been assigned to the genus Babakina.
Their multicoloured body can grow to 2 cm in length.
They normally feed on stinging cells from hydroids and small animals related to jellyfish.
The species was named to honour Emilio Anadón Frutos (1917-1997) who was a professor of zoology and marine biology at the University of Oviedo, Spain.