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):
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:
Glaucus atlanticus © Taro Taylor, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Virtually Third Place: Tied Between
Opalescent sea slug
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
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!