Meet Phylliroe, a nudibranch that is about the size of a goldfish. Phylliroe the sea slug is one of a kind. Phylliroe swims through the water looking for jellyfish, instead of slinking along the ocean floor.
Using his hornlike rhinophores Phylliroe sniffs out jellys in the water column, and uses it’s foot to hold on to the tasty meal. While most nudis and seas slugs use their foot to propel themselves along the sea floor, Phylliroe’s foot is practically gone and all that remains is a bit near its mouth.
Since Phylliroe is clear, you can see food as it passes through the digestive tract. The jelly digestion is powered by digestive glands which you can see as white zigzag lines. And the story of Instead of working through the digestive track and defecating out its back side, our swimming nudi uses an anus located in the middle of its body.
But wait, there’s more. The story of Phylliroe gets even more interesting. This sea slug, like Rudolph’s nose, actually glows! As one of the few nudibranchs known to have bio-luminescent abilities, observers have noted it produces an exceptionally bright and beautiful light show.
The story of the Phylliroe is strange and wonderful and still quite a mystery. They are elusive creatures making them difficult to study as they are observed in the deep sea, mostly at night and are dependent on one food source. Check out the video below from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) for a closer look at this amazing creature.
[via Deep Sea News, Photo (c) Fabien Michenet / nuditahiti.com]