Did you know that there's a sheep in the water?!
No I’m not talking about the popular character from Youtuber PewDiepie’s Minecraft series. I’m talking about this little creature.
Photo from Mymodernmet.com
This is the Leaf Sheep (Costasiella Kuroshimae), a tiny sea slug that looks like a plant or a sheep. They are normally found around Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines! They can grow from 5mm to 1cm in length.
The strangest thing about this animal is that they get their food mostly from Photosynthesis (process of transforming light energy into chemical energy), they eat Algae, in which they suck the chloroplasts (important organelles that conduct photosynthesis) from the algae and
combine it into their leaf like body part, a process called kleptoplasty. This is where they are able to do photosynthesis whenever food like algae is scarce.
Photo from Thedodo.com
Their face looks like a sheep or cow combined with a plant body. This fella in the picture looks like it is begging for food!
If you love this Sea Slug you’ll surely love its cousin the Sea Bunny.
Photo from thedodo.com
A distant cousin of the Leaf sheep, the sea bunny’s “ears” are not actually ears! Shocking! They are actually rhinophores, which they use for tasting or smelling chemicals around it while making its way across the ocean. They are similarly found around the same areas the Leaf Sheep lives in, which is Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Let’s get back to who we’re really talking about, the Leaf Sheep, it would be a great addition to any aquarium if you can find a local pet or fish store that sells them!