Steve Smith and Ian Hutton, The Lord Howe Island Signal.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the 5th Lord Howe Island Sea Slug Census. While conditions were challenging, we nevertheless managed to find and photograph 61 species. Seven of these are first records for the island ( Bursatella leachii, Bullina vitrea, Aldisa sp., Thordisa sp,, Hypselodoris sp., Kabeiro sp. Phyllodesmium sp., Herviella sp.; and 2 others are first records during the LHISSC program (Dendrodoris krusensternii, Berthellina citrina).
With conditions limiting participation, we received images from six people, although those who submitted photos were assisted by a number of spotters. To compensate for the poor weather, we extended the survey period backward to include species found by divers who were on the island in the week leading up to the Census. So, many thanks to Tom and Nicola Davis, Margo and Ash Smith and Carole Harris and Leon Betts for adding their images to the iNaturalist Project and to Lindsay Sherman for submitting images via email.
Photographs were received from: Ian Hutton, Steve Smith, Tom Davis, Carole Harris, Margo Smith and Lindsay Sherman. Photo submission was through the online platform iNaturalist, and we thank the many iNaturalist users who confirmed or provided identifications for the species captured in the images – in particular Matt Nimbs, Steve Smith and Hsini Lin who, respectively, provided identifications for images.
Our rock-platform ramble at Neds Beach was very well attended despite the rain squalls, and those who participated helped find a number of spectacular species including 2 species of Cyerce and 2 cryptic species of sap-sucking slug (Oxynoe), amongst other interesting marine organisms.
Once again, we extend our thanks to the manager and staff of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park for providing a permit to conduct the Sea Slug Census program in the marine habitats of the marine park.
All the images captured during the Census can be found on iNaturalist at this link: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/lord-howe-is-sea-slug-census-2022
And for those lucky enough to be heading to Lord Howe Island in 2023, we hope you will be able to join us for the next Census at this wonderful location (dates will be announced through the Sea Slug Census Facebook pages).
Yours in slugging.
This article appeared in The Lord Howe Island Signal, 31 March 2022.