Are you ready to treat yourself with “cuteness therapy”? Imagine some little creatures that the Internet is going crazy about. Nope, not kittens. Gosh, not puppies! Imagine some…slugs! Are you euh-yuck-gross-ing now? You definitely must have some guts if these crawling monsters don’t make your flesh…crawl! Now calm down! False alarm. Actually, there are slugs (stop shivering!) that absolutely do not resemble those brown mucus-secreting shell-less critters that love moist areas in your garden; on the contrary, the animals we’ll be talking about will easily leave you in awe. Have you heard of sea slugs? Millions of years of evolution turned marine gastropod mollusks into lovely creatures that are often brightly-colored to fit their environment.
Initially, sea slugs have become a source of admiration for Japanese fans. The country is famous for its love for ‘kawaii’, has fallen in love with these tiny ethereal animals. Now they are starting to get their share of attention all over the global Internet, as they seem to be perfect pets: no shedding, no stinky smell, no barking or meowing for no reason, and you can meditatively contemplate these loveable creatures for hours!
If you’re thinking about celebrating Easter underwater, you should go scuba diving in Japan or the Philippines where creatures dubbed ‘sea bunnies’ live. Indeed, Jorunna parva is a sea slug that bears an uncanny resemblance to a fluffy bunny. They have furry tails and cute tiny ears which are actually organs that help them detect flavors and odors in the water. Japanese Twitter users compare them to snow rabbits coated in salt and sesame seeds, but despite looking extremely delicious, they’re certainly not edible.
Forget about sea bunnies! You’ll be overwhelmed by the cuteness of these sea slugs that have cartoonish sheep-like faces, beady eyes, and green fur-like tentacles where…photosynthesis is performed. Actually, Costasiella kuroshimae – the formal name of this species – belongs to the only clade of animals that can convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. Land sheep graze grass, while sea sheep incorporate chloroplasts from algae they eat to produce their own energy. These tiny, 5 mm in length, animals can be called living solar plants as well. These unique cuties surely deserve all these metaphors!
Actually, this amazing blue ocean slug has quite a few other names: sea swallow, blue dragon (you’ll find out why soon), sea lizard. No wonder Glaucus atlanticus amassed so many nicknames – it looks absolutely outlandish letting human imagination run wild. Just like angels that fly in heaven, these creatures float on the surface of the water, carried along by the winds and ocean currents. It’s not without reason that they are silver-blue. From a bird’s eye view, blue stripes on the upper side of their bodies serve as camouflage blending in with the blue of the water, while the silver side helps them hide from fish facing downwards and blending in with the silver surface of the sea. Moreover, blue angels turn into blue demons when it comes to hunting. They are major predators feeding on other floating sea oddities. Those finger-like appendages are armed with stinging cells that are painful and dangerous even for humans. Not so innocent as they look at first glance, huh?