Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leaf-like sea slug feeds on light

Leaf-like sea slug feeds on light


The solar-powered sea slug Elysia chlorotica can live entirely from energy from the sun. It's about three centimetres long. The solar-powered sea slug Elysia chlorotica can live entirely from energy from the sun. It's about three centimetres long.(PNAS)

U.S. researchers have found that the sea slug Elysia chlorotica can photosynthesize, using energy from light to convert carbon dioxide into sugars.

"If you shine light on these slugs, they fix carbon dioxide and make oxygen just like a plant," Sidney Pierce of the University of South Florida told CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.

...

The slugs look just like a leaf, green and about three centimetres long, and are found off the east coast of North America from Nova Scotia to Florida.

They acquire the ability to photosynthesize by eating algae and incorporating the plants' tiny chlorophyll-containing structures, called chloroplasts, into their own cells.



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