Here you will find intriguing extras: segments our producers weren't able to fit into a five-minute podcast as well as images, interesting facts and ways to get involved or in touch with biodiversity wherever you live.
Hear how Skip Pierce captures the sea slugs he needs in his lab.
Solar-Powered Sea Slugs
While Elysia chlorotica is the only sea slug thus far known to copy actual algal genes into its own DNA, other sea slugs have evolved to use algal chloroplasts for an energy boost. Here is a gallery of a few other "kleptoplasts" and the ways they manage to harness living solar cells for their own use.
This sea slug retains photosynthetically active chloroplasts from the algae on which it feeds within the cells of its digestive tract. Photo Credit: Ian Skipworth, Cataloging Diversity in the Sacoglossa LifeDesk.
Pteraeolidia ianthina is a common nudibranch that feeds on hydroids, or sea jellies. Brown and green pigments are due to the presence of symbiotic algae from the sea jellies which continue to photosynthesize within the sea slug's body. This nudibranch "farms" these chloroplasts from its hydroid prey in special folds of its digestive tract. Photo Credit: David Burdick , NOAA Photo Library
This sea slug ingests chloroplasts from the algae it eats and retains them within specialized cells of its digestive tract. Ingested chloroplasts continued to photosynthesize as long as 335 days--the longest record of chloroplast activity in any tested sacoglossan sea slug.