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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Found: A sea slug named Elysia chlorotica which lives on light

Fascinating research concerning a type of sea slug has been release to the world. The sea slug,  (pictured above) with a scientific name of  Elysia chlorotica  has been found to possess the ability to make food out of sunlight, just like a plant!!

"U.S. researchers have found that the sea slug Elysia chlorotica can photosynthesize, using energy from light to convert carbon dioxide into sugars. "If you shine light on these slugs, they fix carbon dioxide and make oxygen just like a plant," Sidney Pierce of the University of South Florida ."

"The slugs look just like a leaf, green and about three centimetres long, and are found off the east coast of North America from Nova Scotia to Florida. They acquire the ability to photosynthesize by eating algae and incorporating the plants' tiny chlorophyll-containing structures, called chloroplasts, into their own cells..... the chloroplasts can live inside the slugs' cells for nine or 10 months, nearly the entire lifetime of the slug, and can provide the animal with all the energy it needs."

Source of  this information :

"Elysia chlorotica are most commonly found in salt marshes, tidal marshes, pools and shallow creeks along the east coast of the United States and Canada. They can be found as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Florida.Elysia chlorotica can grow up to 60mm in length but are more commonly found between 20mm to 30mm in length."

""Elysia chlorotica feeds on the intertidal algae  Vaucheria litorea by puncturing  the algal cell wall with its  radula (The radula (plural radulae or radulas) is an anatomical structure found in mollusks and used for feeding. It is a minutely toothed, chitinous ribbon.) The slug then holds the algal strand firmly in its mouth and, as though it were a straw, sucks out the contents. Instead of digesting the entire cell contents, or passing the contents through its gut unscathed, it retains only the algal chloroplasts, by storing them within its own cells throughout its extensive digestive system. The acquisition of chloroplasts begins immediately following metamorphosis from the veliger stage when the juvenile sea slugs begin to feed on the Vaucheria litorea cells. Juvenile slugs are brown with red pigment spots until they feed upon the algae, at which point they become green. This is caused by the distribution of the chloroplasts throughout the extensively branched gut. Initially, the slug needs to continually feed upon algae to retain the chloroplasts, but over time the chloroplasts become more stably incorporated into the cells of the gut enabling the slug to remain green without further feeding."

"The incorporation of chloroplasts within the cells of Elysia chlorotica allow the slug to capture energy directly from light, as most plants do, through the process known as photosynthesis. This is significantly beneficial for Elysia chlorotica because during time periods where algae is not readily available as a food supply, the Elysia chlorotica can survive for months on the sugars produced through photosynthesis performed by their own chloroplasts. Kept within the slug's own cells, it has been found that the chloroplasts can survive and function for up to nine or even 10 months." source:

I found a video of this sea slug showing it eating:

Source of video:

For more information about Elysia chlorotica,please go to the following website:

Source of image:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.