19/07/15: eCOAST discovers a new non-indigenous species in Dutch waters

 

A new non-indigenous Nemertea ("ribbon worm") species has been discovered in Dutch waters.

 

The new species, Cephalothrix simula, was originally discovered by Marco Faasse and Marianne Ligthart in the Eastern Scheldt back in 2012. The worms are yellow/orange-colored and about 2 millimeters in diameter. DNA analysis has confirmed that the species is indeed new to Dutch waters. The newly discovered species orginates from the Northwestern region of the Pacific and is remarkable because it was found to contain tetrodotoxine, the same toxin found in pufferfish (Tetraodontidae). The discovery of this species brings the total number of Dutch ribbon worms to 20.

 

Our scientific publication describing the new species is available here, and more detailed information is available in a release by the Stichting Anemoon (in Dutch).