At the sight of their misshapen, oblong bodies, flush in bright streaks of nature’s most lurid colours, some might be convinced that these animals are aliens. And in many cases, they are.
The nudibranch is a jelly - like mollusc that lives in oceans around the world, from the Arctic to more temperate seas. Typically, the largest variety of species are found in shallow, warm - water reefs, but some specimens have been found at depths of 2, 500 metres, living in waters too deep even for light to penetrate.
In the past 10 years alone, nudibranchs that were previously believed to be endemic to the shores of Malaysia and Zanzibar have been documented in the coastal waters of the UAE.
Although scientists are still researching how the slugs made their way to the Emirates, it is believed that the UAE’s shipping ports, among the busiest in the world, could be responsible for this alien invasion.