Bright Pink Sea Slugs Invading New Habitats Due to Global Warming?
The colorful invertebrates are moving north along the California coast as ocean waters warm, scientists say.
Brightly colored sea slugs have invaded the central and northern California coast—and scientists aren't exactly tickled pink.
That's because the arrival of the soft-bellied marine creatures, which typically prefer warmer waters off southern California, could be a sign of serious shifts to the marine ecosystem due to climate warming.
The pink sea slug, officially called the Hopkins' rose nudibranch, hardly ever shows up north of San Francisco (see coastal map). The last time hordes of the inch-long (2.5 centimeters) mollusks ventured that far up the coast was during a seasonal climatic phenomenon called El Niño, which brought strong rains and ocean warming to the region more than 16 years ago. (See more pictures of colorful sea slugs.)