It is the Valentines Day (in the US, at least), which means it is time to reveal which sea slug the public has decided is the most beloved.  Visitors from 43 states (plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico) and 30 foreign countries from every continent except Anartica cast hundreds of votes on behalf of our eight sea slug contestants.

In the end, however, the winner was clear.  Chosen by about one quarter of all voters, the nudibranch (scientific name for sea slugs) that won the Great Sea Slug Beauty Contest of 2012  (drum roll, please):

First Place:  Chromodoris kuniei

Photography by Steve Childs used under Creative Commons license

Chromodoris is indeed a beautiful and exotic species, at least to us in H2O headquarters in North Carolina, US, since it resides in the tropical waters around Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.  Could it be the large number of votes from that vecinity (New Zealand and Australia alone were responsible for 55 visits to our site) that won the Chromodoris its victory?  Truthfully, no.  This sea slug was the leader from the very first day of the contest, before we began publicizing it internationally, and never lost its footing.  People all over the world appreciate this fascinating species, with its distinctive coloring, horn-like (in appearance, at least) cerata, double mantle covering–and don’t forget its toxic protection!

Our first runner-up–the one who would serve should Chromodoris be unwilling or unable to do so–is closer to home, at least for those of us living in the Eastern United States.  In Second Place, with about 16% of the votes, is:

Second Place:  Glaucus atlanticus

Glaucus atlanticus © Taro Taylor, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Found in temperate and tropical waters all around the world, including the shores of North Carolina, Glaucus is a distinctive type of sea slug.  It actually floats on top of the water, even in the middle of the ocean, hunting its prey, which is the venomous Portuguese man-o-war.   It took about a week for Glaucus to pull ahead of the rest of the pack for a clear second place, and it stayed in the position for the remainder of the contest.  At our public events, we’ve noted that this sea slug is often the choice of our younger male voters, which may explain its second place win.
The most tooth-and-nail competition (or should I say, radula and cerata?) was for third place.  There were four nudibranchs who battled for this position in the last days of the contest, each one winning the spot one day, only to lose it the next.  In the end, the one who grabbed the glory at the end, winning by only a SINGLE vote, was:

Third Place:  Berghia Sea Slug

Photo by Parent Gery used under Creative Commons License
This is another local (to North Carolina, the North Atlantic, and even Caribbean) sea slug, lovely and toxic.  Her vivid colors and impressive curved rhinophores were a big hit among our voters.
However, two other varieties ended up only one vote behind the Berghia, and another was only three votes behind it.      Since, out of nearly 350 votes, that is almost statistically insignificant, we are calling the next three:

Virtually Third Place:  Tied Between

Phyllodesmium poindimiei

Opalescent sea slug

Elysia chlorotica


Photo by Doug Anderson used under Creative Commons license


Photo by: John Albers-Mead by Creative Commons license

Photography by Patrick Krug used under Creative Commons license

Each of these had its own unique and compelling features, which is what made Third Place such a competitive spot.
Rounding out the contestants were:

Cyerce nigricans

Ocellated wart slug

Photography by Dino Sassi-Marcel Fayton, Photo Eden LTD–Public Domain, according to the law of the Seychelles











Photo by Steve Childs used under the Creative Commons Attribution License

Each had its devotees for its special characteristics, but never garnered enough support to make it into the ranks of the top three.

So there you have it–the sea slugs we love the most!  Thanks so much to everyone who participated, and especially to those who helped us spread the word.  We hope you’ve learned to appreciate these wonderful creatures, and will continue to show your love all year round by taking action to help heal their environment–the world’s oceans!


3 responses »

  1. juniper210 says:

    The Elysia Chlorotica was robbed! 😀 Great idea you guys and I never thought I’d be so glad as to learn about slugs. They truly are beautiful. The Elysia Chlorotica will always be the winner in my book. It does photosynthesis for goodness sakes’.

  2. ccross says:

    Glad to hear you enjoyed learning about sea slugs and that you are passionate about the Elysia Chlorotica! When I first discovered this creature, I thought it was unbelievably cool.

  3. […] A:  It was pretty fun.  At least my favorite sea slug came in second. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s