Saturday, August 18, 2012

Swallow the Sea

Today's Animal of the Week is a sea slug

glaucus atlanticus
Also called the Sea Swallow.
It's pelagic, which means it lives anywhere there's an ocean, except for the deep or sandy or cold parts.

It's hermaphroditic, hence the neutral pronoun ("morphodite", as the locals say).

It has counter-shading, which means when you look up from beneath, it's light to match the sky, but when you look down, it's blue to match the ocean. The up-side is the creature's belly; it floats relaxedly in the surface tension.

They get about as big as your hand (depending on the size of your hand) and eat jellyfish, saving the stingy bits for later use.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, come on now.
    You're just making this up!

    I know this because I once saw my Granny put salt on a slug and the consequences were not pleasant (for the slug).

    Now I don't pretend to be any kind of expert, but I think I'm correct in my assertion that the marine environment has quite a bit of salt in it and thus would be a no go area for a slug.

    I think you may have a picture of some kind of bird there.

    OSM

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  3. You may well be on to something, as I distinctly remember misplacing an informative pamphlet by some well-known ornithologist stating that swallows hibernate in the mud at the bottom of lakes - perhaps this is a marine counterpart.

    Though I have it on good authority that birds are just as adversely affected by a saline solution as slugs are (which may be why these ones look so soggish and melty around the edges), in the words of my late grandfather who said that I could very easily catch a mockingbird, or in fact any type of bird, merely by sprinkling a pinch of salt on its tail.

    I think further research is needed...

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