Zooming into Nudibranchs: Shaun The Sheep
Written by Roy Kittrell 27 December 2022.
In our first of many articles on the fascinating lives of nudibranchs, we will talk about what is not only one of the most fascinating, but is also the cutest nudi in the ocean, Shaun the Sheep!
Also known by its proper scientific name, Costasiella kuroshimae , Shaun the Sheep gets its common name from its uncanny resemblance to the children’s TV show character. The name ‘sheep’ is quite apt; these sap sucking slugs eat plants, and specifically prefer to live on small elephant’s ear seaweed in the shallower parts of the sea up to around 5m deep. They are quite small, only 3-5mm long, and photographing them can require specific photography equipment and cameras.
But it’s not just the nutritional value of the plant these nudis are after. They actually take the chloroplasts out from the ingested food and incorporate it into their own bodies… to do photosynthesis! The only animal on planet Earth that can do this are sap sucking slugs like Shaun the Sheep.
Photo by The Invertebrate Collections
Flow Dive Center regularly do Macro trips to places like Juara, Anilao and Lembeh next year where you can see these and many other incredible and tiny animals. Follow our Instagram to keep in touch and find out more!