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On March 27, 2007, on a dolphin-watching cruise off the coast of South Africa, 13 crew members of the Ocean Safari vessel Dolphin and volunteers from the Centre for Dolphin Studies took numerous photographs of an unknown marine invertebrate, which to me looks exactly like a small version of the long-necked sea slug I have postulated. Miss Gwenith Penry posted photos and a detailed description to teuthiologist Steve O’Shea’s TONMO.com (The Octopus News Magazine Online)

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.Penry reported that the creature was 12–16 inches long. At its anterior end was a “very distinctive ‘nose’/trunk like protrusion which appeared to be able to move independently of the rest of the body…. There was a notable inflation of the ‘melon’ as the animal surfaced and this then deflated as it dived.” There appeared to be a membranous “skirt,” or parapodia, “on the posterior end of the body, mostly grey but with banding around the edges…. This looks like a thin layer of ‘skin’ that ‘flaps’ like a ray. The banded area looks like two separate appendages that do not join, but the ends meet.” It was “first spotted just below the surface (~30 cm), it then surfaced and swam towards the boat, stopped and lifted the ‘nose’ towards us as if sensing something in front of it.”

      In the four excellent photos Penry posted, the extensible neck, inflatable hump, and parapodia are clearly visible. After the posting, heated discussion ensued, but ultimately, no conclusive identification could be made. I believe it may have been a larval long-necked Sea-Serpent as a giant marine slug, and I eagerly await further sightings. 

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