'The Lettuce Slug'
(Natural History Episode 18)
Lettuce sea slugs (Elysia crispata) are a commonly found in protected nearshore Floridian waters where green macroalgae proliferates. They belong to a clan of sea slugs, the sarcoglossans, that are characterized by their 'sap-sucking' feeding habits of algae. These slugs slowly patrol mangrove roots and rocks searching for green algae upon which they feed. They store some of the chloroplasts from eaten algae in their tissue, giving it the green coloration. The chloroplasts continue to function, providing the slug with photosynthetic energy. The ruffles along the back of the lettuce sea slug are called parapodia, and help provide more surface area for the chloroplasts to inhabit. They also camouflage the slug amongst the leafy algae that they live amongst. It is very easy to swim past a lettuce nudibranch without ever noticing it.
Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
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Screened at Brooklyn Bowl Eye Candy For Strangers | July 26, 2010 - Brooklyn, New York
Screened at O Cinema Monitoring Art Vol. 2 | March 12, 2011 - Miami, Florida
Screened at ATP Curated by Animal Collective | May 13-15, 2011 - Minehead, UK
Screened at Miami Underwater Festival | May 27-28, 2011 - Miami, FL