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Are These Unique ‘Leaf Sheep’ Vibrant Animals or Walking Plants?!

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In the shallow marine waters of Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines dwell a curious creature known as the Costasiella kuroshimae or “leaf sheep.” With their facial vibrancy and tiny eyes, they almost look like an animated character. Some would even claim due to their green and leafy body they were a plant. However, according to their classification, there is only one right answer.

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What makes these green creatures so mysterious? These glowing slugs eat green algae and use chloroplasts to create their own form of energy. This is a process known as kleptoplasty making them one of the only non-plant organisms that can photosynthesize.

While the ocean is full of species yet to be discovered, from what I have researched, there aren’t any plants known to walk underwater.

 



From the energy harnessed and stored, leaf sheep can thrive for up to a few months before needing to repeat the kleptoplasty processes.

 


Leaf sheep are a miraculous form of life that remind us of the vast complexities and simplicities all around us. At just 5 mm in size, they truly are beyond measure

 

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