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'Naked gills' and more Marine Protected Area news

Most of us are familiar with land slugs, the slimy little critters that can be found on the sidewalk or in your garden. But have you ever seen one of these in the ocean? Called nudibranchs (meaning “naked gills”), these invertebrates have striking colors, feathery gills and strange looking horns, and can be found all along the coast of California, including in many of the state's 124 marine protected areas.

Fun fact: the opalescent nudibranch steals stinging cells from their prey and uses them as protection against predators!

Spanish Shawl ( Flabellinopsis iodinea) in Monterey by Robin Argawhal

Join MPA Watch

Our ocean needs you! Get involved in community science by volunteering with MPA Watch and do your part to ensure healthy ocean ecosystems for current and future generations. 

MPA Watch trains volunteers to observe and collect data about how people use coastal and marine resource use inside and outside marine protected areas (MPAs). The data is used to help inform management decisions. MPA Watch is active throughout the state! Learn more and find out how to get involved in your area

Lisa Gilfillan and Angela Kemsley from WILDCOAST and MPA Watch taking data, Cardiff State Beach, Swami's State Marine Conservation Area, Encinitas. Photo courtesy Claudio Contreras Koob