Stunning sea slugs eat algae to photosynthesize

[Global] 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shows: Sea Pike // Pics from Jam Press (monster fish) 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 Nemo

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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