New Footage of Bizarre, 13-Legged Sea Slug Released0
Meet the carnivorous sea slug that uses its huge, gelatinous head as a fishing net to catch its prey, while floating around on 13 leg-like appendages that altogether make it look like the best straight-outta-sci-fi creature we’ve seen in a good while.
The creature in question is Melibe viridis, an inexplicably shaped nudibranch that lives in the tropical Indo-Pacific.
Melibe stands out among sea slugs — which, among such a bizarre selection, is a feat in itself — for its strange feeding habits. It feeds with something called a fish net, which looks like a veil-like balloon on one end of its body. So to eat, all Melibe needs to do is inflate its fish net and vacuum substrate along the seafloor, sucking in tiny crustaceans and swallowing them as the bubble-like contraption deflates. Sea slugs can grow to over 12cm in length, but their most fascinating attribute is the way they feed.
It kind of looks like a jelly-like, vaguely thorny venus flytrap that chews up sand.
Predatory Nudibranch - Melibe Viridis by ResoKoa
But what’s just as strange as Melibe’s bubble mouth is its series of floret-shaped protrusions that radiate out of its body almost like a ribcage, or a palm leaf. Scientists have no clear explanation for why these sets of extrusions exist, whether they’re arms or antennae or just some kind of stinging decoration.
The only thing that’s for sure is that they’re fancy. They’re also covered in what one photographer described as “very large, conical, unbranched pustules.”
A close relation of Melibe viridis — Melibe leonina, or the lion’s mane nudibranch — apparently releases a chemical that makes it smell like watermelon. We’re not sure if that sounds appetizing, intriguing, disturbing or all of the above.
So, there you have it. Another classic case of sea slugs defying absolutely all evolutionary logic, and looking great while doing so.
More Articles on Marine Life
All content provided in Scuba Diving Resource blogs or website is for informational purposes only. Any comments, opinions that may be found here at the Scuba Diving Resource are the express opinions and or the property of their individual authors.
The Scuba Diving Resource makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Please note that regulations and information can change at any time.