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Can eating lots of vegetables turn you into a vegetable? Not really, unless you are a sea slug.

There are several species of sea slugs that have chlorophyll in their bodies which they utilize to make food from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis, just like plants do. But these sea slugs weren’t born with chlorophyll. They acquired them during their lifetime by eating too many veggies. They are known as sacoglossans or the "sap-sucking sea slugs” because they live by literally sucking out the cell contents from strands of algae, as if they are straws. But instead of digesting the food, like normal animals do, they keep the chloroplasts from the algae and then incorporate them into their own cells. Now all they have to do is lie in the sun. This unusual phenomenon is known as kleptoplasty, and this strange ability has earned these sacoglossans the title of "solar-powered sea slugs".

elysia-chlorotica-1

Elysia chlorotica feeding on Vaucheria litorea, a yellow-green algae. Photo credit

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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