Sea slug named after Perth’s FIFOs

A sea slug that inhabits the waters off the north-west coast of Western Australia has officially been named after the State’s fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.
A sea slug that inhabits the waters off the north-west coast of Western Australia has officially been named after the State’s fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.

IN what could be perceived as a back-handed compliment, Perth’s FIFOs have been honoured by having a sea slug named after them.

The flamboyant creature is a nudibranch, with bright colouring that resembles hi-vis clothing.

It has tiny, orange-tipped ‘sausages’ all over its back.

The slug has a defensive dance it does when feeling threatened, not unlike some of the State’s FIFOs.

The slug was first noticed by Dr Wilson, Senior Research Scientist and Manager of the Molecular Systematics Unit at the WA Museum, while diving off WA’s north-west coast 18 years ago.

“At the time, this slug was thought to be a different colour morph of a known species. Now, with the application of DNA data, we understand that it is a new species that only occurs in the north-west of Australia,” Dr Wilson said.

The sea slug was named thanks to a successful competition run by the ABC’s Radio National nature podcast Off Track as part of 2016 National Science Week.

The winning entry—Moridilla fifo—came from Patrick Dwyer of NSW, who likened the sea slug’s use of stinging cells temporarily relocated for its defence to the temporarily relocated FIFO workers, and its bright red colouring as reminiscent of hi-visibility clothing.