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Sacoglossan

Elysia viridis

Description:

Feeding on Codium fragile and with spawn in the background. These small sea slugs are not nudibranchs and belong to a different order, the Sacoglossa. In fact, DNA has been showing they're more closely related to land snails and slugs than to nudibranchs. While all nudibranchs are carnivores, all sacoglossans are herbivores and they're even often called "sap-sucking slugs". But they do much more than simply eat the algae: they "steal" the chloroplasts (a process called kleptoplasty). At least for a while the chloroplasts keep performing photosynthesis so the slug can be truly... sun powered.

Notes:

15 meters deep

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João Pedro Silva
Spotted by
João Pedro Silva

Portugal

Spotted on Aug 8, 2012
Submitted on Mar 15, 2015

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