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Kiwi diver makes sightings of rare seahorse, sea hare

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POOR KNIGHTS ISLAND, New Zealand -- A diving trip off the Poor Knights Islands has turned up two rare sea creatures living in what could be a marine biology time warp.

One of the tiny creatures - a miniature seahorse - has only ever been recorded once before anywhere in the world, and never known to be in New Zealand waters.

The other - an equally tiny sea-hare - is possibly a never-before discovered species.

Auckland diver Ann Gilmore made the world's first recorded live discovery of the 2cm seahorse (Hippocampus jugumus), while diving at the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve at Anniversary Weekend.

The only other recording of the species was when a dried shred was found on a beach on Lord Howe Island in 1925.

But it was a sea-hare, of the huge mollusc family, that had caught her attention before she saw the seahorse - which she first thought was a scrap of floating seaweed.

One of the other divers, Paul White of Auckland, took the photographs Australian marine biologists are now using to identify what could be the world's rarest sea-hare and sea-horse.


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