Sea Slugs are sometimes called the butterflies of the sea, but they’re more than just a pretty face! Not only are they adorned in a bewitching spectrum of colours, they’re also excellent indicators of how our environment is changing.
With nine successful Melbourne Sea Slug Census events to date, our records of sea slug species found in Victorian coastal waters are continuing to grow.
Collecting photos of sea slugs present at different times during the year helps us to monitor these species and track any changes. But we need your help!
Winter Census – July 2022
The next Melbourne Sea Slug Census will run 1 – 10 July. If you plan on braving the cold above or under the water during this time, keep your eyes peeled for sea slugs. Then, upload your photos to iNaturalist and they’ll automatically be added to the July Census project (you can join the project as a member if you want to receive notifications and project updates).
iNaturalist is a great community of experts and enthusiasts that can help you hone your identification skills and learn more about all kinds of wonderful wildlife. If you’re not already on the platform, you can head here for a guide and videos to help you sign up and start uploading your valuable images!
Please note: the guide has been created for our Marine Life of Victoria project, but the steps for joining iNaturalist still apply. Your sea slug images will automatically be added to the July Census if they meet the criteria (a sea slug taken anywhere along the Victorian coast during Census times).
A note on water quality if you’re out exploring our coast:
Heavy rain can impact water quality on our coasts, especially after fires and periods of smoke haze. In general the EPA recommends avoiding swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24–48 hours after heavy rain. Within Port Phillip Bay, you can check your local beach conditions at the Yarra and Bay Beach Report- https://yarraandbay.vic.gov.au/
If you’re heading to the coast during this time, please remember to follow all advice from health and environmental authorities around social distancing, access to sites and water quality, and make sure you’re complying with any COVIDSafe restrictions . More information can be accessed at the Victorian government coronavirus page and Parks Victoria. Take care and stay safe while enjoying our wonderful wild places.
Recent Melbourne Sea Slug Censuses
The March Melbourne Sea Slug Census was held between 25 March – 3 April. The iNaturalist community, with help from Bob Burn, have identified 79 species of sea slug so far.
The March Census project results can be viewed on iNaturalist, and you don’t need an account to check them out- although we strongly encourage you to join in on the fun! Having our data on iNaturalist allows the project founders to compare data from Censuses held around the country, as well as providing open access to the images that are being submitted.
In Partnership with the Melbourne Sea Slug Census:-
The Sea Slug Census is supported by the Victorian Government.