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Channel Islands, USA

Mysterious Purple Orb | Nautilus Live

Mysterious Purple Orb

During our initial observations in NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, a snail-like foot and no visible shell suggested the sphere might be a pleurobranch sea slug. Upon more well-rounded review by our research partners at Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology, it is now thought the orb belongs to another distantly related group of snails--the velutinids. Modern techniques, including microCT scanning and RNA sequencing, are being used to describe this very likely new species of velutinid.