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Stunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To Photosynthesize

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 03 Jan 2020 18:51
Stunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeStunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeJim Lynn Photography

When you think of a slug, you think of the horrible, gooey things that leave trails across your garden patio – however, these guys are actually pretty cute. 

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The tiny bugs, which almost look like a strange kind of flower with a tiny, white face, live underwater. Their proper name is Costasiella kuroshimae, but they’re also known as ‘leaf sheep’.

Unfortunately, you won’t find any of these washed up on Blackpool beach anytime soon, as they’re usually found near Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Stunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeStunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeJim Lynn Photography

Even if you were leaf sheep spotting in one of those places, they would be pretty hard to see as they only grow up to around 5mm long. Thankfully, underwater photographers Jim and Lynn shared some pretty stunning photos.

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To add to their amazing-ness, Costasiella kuroshimae are the only sea animal that can photosynthesise the same way a plant on dry land would.

With a white head and black rhinophores, cerata green with reddish tips, it arguably looks like a sheep eating grass.

When they eat algae, they suck out the chloroplasts and incorporate them into their own bodies in a process called kleptoplasty.

Stunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeStunning Sea Slugs Eat Algae To PhotosynthesizeJim Lynn Photography

On the other end of the spectrum, there are creepy-looking fish like this one, reminding us the deep blue sea isn’t all just ‘leaf sheep’.

Roman Fedortsov spends a lot of his time on fishing trawlers, coming into contact with a wide variety of sealife. While he’s mainly tasked with more traditional, commercial fishing – catching fish such as cod, haddock and mackerel – he often comes across some pretty bizarre critters roaming in our waters.

As such, the 39-year-old, from Murmansk, Russia, likes to share snaps of the various grotesque and fascinating finds online, intriguing and frightening the internet in equal measure.

Russian fisherman who shares terrifying pics of WEIRD deep sea finds unveils his latest catch - a smiling sea pike that looks like he belongs in Finding NemoRussian fisherman who shares terrifying pics of WEIRD deep sea finds unveils his latest catch - a smiling sea pike that looks like he belongs in Finding NemoJam Press
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A previous catch of his, as seen in the photo, is in fact a sea pike. However, it just looks eerily human, smiling away like something from SpongeBob SquarePants or Finding Nemo. 

I think I’ll stick to looking at pictures of ‘leaf sheep’, thanks.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Costasiella kuroshimae, fish, Leaf Sheep, Sea pike, Sea slug, Sealife

Credits

Jim and Lynn Underwater Photography
  1. Jim and Lynn Underwater Photography

    Sheep Eat Grass