New marine species discovered off Gulf of Mexico

Posted March 31, 2011, at 11:44 p.m.

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A new marine species has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Thursday the discovery of Chromodoris fentoni, a type of shell-less snail known as a nudibranch (pronounced “nu-da-brank”).

Biologists discovered the unusual creature after a fisherman donated specimens from the Gulf off Tarpon Springs to the commission and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg in 2009.

Samples were then sent to the California State Polytechnic University, which verified the species had never been documented.

A curator at the Wildlife Research Institute says it’s rare to find a species that is new to science.

The find was featured in the 2011 volume of the “American Malacological Bulletin” published Thursday.

The nudibranch has external gills and no shell.

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