Would You Become Something You Eat Most? Elysia chlorotica, The First Animal-Plant Hybrid Creator

Would You Become Something You Eat Most? It sounds like a silly question, but apparently, the brilliant emerald green sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, manages to do that. Although this green little guy does have a lot in common with the green leaves, they are totally different from their nature. And according to some scientist, “There is no way on earth that genes from an alga should work inside an animal cell.” But in fact, it seems like the green sea slug has hijacked enough plant genes to become the first animal who is able to produce chlorophyll just like a plant – rely on sunshine for its nutrition. It still a complete mystery how it manages to do that, but it won’t stop making this little emerald animal a super star – who is known as the only example of functional gene transfer from one multi-cellular species to another. Such an amazing world!

Would You Become Something You Eat Most? Elysia chlorotica, The First Animal-Plant Hybrid Creator
Continue reading

Magic Ocean: Christmas Tree Worms

Ocean is full of magic stuff, when people still feel amazed about the adorable sea slug, there is another great finding in ocean: Christmas tree worm – a marine species with the magic beauty. Known to marine biologists as Spirobranchus giganteus, Christmas Tree Worms are species of tube-building polychaete worms belonging to the Serpulidae family. The worms’ most distinct feature are its Christmas tree-shaped twin spirals of plumes used for feeding and respiration. They come in many colours including orange, yellow, blue, and white and, though they are small with an average 3.8cm in span, they are easily spotted due to their shape, beauty, and colour. Here are some beautiful photos of this wonderful marine creature. Now you know how marine world celebrate the Christmas!

Magic Ocean: Christmas Tree Worms
Continue reading

Blue Dragon: The Mythical-looking Creature is Another Type of Sea Slug

Sea Slug is a common name which is applied to some marine invertebrates that more or less resemble terrestrial slugs. There are many amazing-looking creatures in this group, such as the sea bunny and leaf sheep we mentioned before. The blue dragon or glaucus atlanticus, in this post, one of the weirdest and most wonderful little-known animals in the world. You might connect it with the image of dragon in myth, however, it is much smaller than its fictional brethren of lore (only about an inch or two in length).

Blue Dragon: The Mythical-looking Creature is Another Type of Sea Slug
Continue reading

Leaf Sheep? Cartoon Lamb? Another Adorable Sea Slug

Not sure why, but sea slug looks like a new star in the animal kingdom. Two weeks ago, we introduce the cute bunny in the sea and today, we will present you another incredibly cute sea slug – leaf sheep (Costasiella kuroshimae). This amazing creature is actually a species of sacoglossan sea slug whose beady eyes and flat face make it look like an adorable cartoon sheep.

Costasiella kuroshimae, which can grow up to 5 millimeters in length, can be found near Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They graze on green algae, and use the chloroplasts from their food to manufacture their own energy in a process called kleptoplasty. One of the only non-plant organisms in the world that can perform photosynthesis, leaf sheep can survive up to a few months on the energy produced from kleptoplasty. In another word, they are solar-powered slugs!

Photo source: Lynn Wu
Leaf Sheep? Cartoon Lamb? Another Adorable Sea Slug
Continue reading