The "Leaf Sheep" one of the few animals in the world that can photosynthesize

The "Leaf Sheep" one of the few animals in the world that can photosynthesize

Moo away sea bunnies, the sea sheep are here to stay.

Discovered in 1993, This little univalve - recognised as the "leaf sheep" or, additional formally Costasiella kuroshimae - undoubtedly is gorgeous. Don't be overwhelmed by its uncanny likeness to an animated land sheep, the leaf sheep is a species of sacoglossan Gastropoda that has the uncommon capability to photosynthesize.

In fact, they are one of the only sea creatures in the world that can perform photosynthesis. This special creature eats algae and incorporates the chloroplasts found in those algae and uses them for photosynthesis.

Leaf sheep keep the chloroplasts from the meals they consume and use them to manufacture their own energy - merely sort of a plant would. The method, known as kleptoplasty, is only found in some sacoglossan sea slugs. This process, which otherwise can only be performed by single-celled organisms, essentially makes them solar-powered slugs! Leaf sheep don't appear to be particularly precise at photosynthesizing, however, some species will keep for months on chemical process alone.

Originating from Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines the sea slugs are found in many unique colours, just like leaves! This one's distinctive colour appears to look like an artichoke.

If you would like to see one in motion, here's a well-favoured leaf sheep roaming throughout an enormous expanse of leaf. As you can see, they're terribly small - barely a few millimetres long.

It looks that the marine slug world is a veritable cache of small land animal miniatures.


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