Sheep Sea Slug Photosynthesizes Algae Inside Itself

July 22, 2015

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These are a bunch of shots of Leaf Sheep (Costasiella kuroshimae), a species of sea slug that looks like a cartoon sheep and is capable of photosynthesizing algae inside its little penis shaped dingle thingies (I'm a biologist).

What's fascinating about the tiny 'leaf sheep,' which can grow up to 5mm in length and can be found near Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, is that they are one of the only animals in the world that can perform photosynthesis (the others all belong to the sacoglossa sea slug clade). When they eat algae, they suck out the chloroplasts and incorporate them into their own bodies in a process called kleptoplasty.

I remember seeing a David Attenborough special that highlighted the other sea slugs that can do the same thing. They were not as cute though. Being cute gets you way further in life. Take me for example. "You are ugly as shit." And I am at rock bottom because of it.

Keep going for several more pictures of nature's newest Pokemon.

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Thanks to Laura V, who made fun of me for asking if photosynthesizing is something you do in Photoshop.

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