This very strange creature that looks like a leaf actually has more in common with one than you might think. The green sea slug actually steals enough plant genes that it's the first animal ever known to produce chlorophyll just like a plant - which means it can get its nutrients from sunshine.

Officially known as Elysia chlorotica, the sea slug was previously been recognized as an animal with the ability to photosynthesize by acquiring plant organelles from the algae it eats, but a recent study showed that this genius creature is actually incorporating some of the genes from the algae into its own DNA.


Patrick Krug/IFL Science

The sea slug literally steals the powers of organisms it eats!

Can you imagine being able to breathe under water by eating fish, garnering super strength by munching on bear meat, blending in with your environment by swallowing a chameleon, or flying by consuming a bird?

Pretty amazing, don 't you think?!

Patrick Krug/IFL Science

The slug is capable of stealing both the genes and cell organelles that are responsible for photosynthesis from the algae. That process allows the slug to temporarily give up its life as an animal and instead "live like a plant," absorbing all the nourishment it needs from the sun.

This remarkable creature does not need to continually consume algae to retain its powers, as it's capable of maintaining photosynthesis for as long as nine months - astoundingly, that's even longer period of time than algae can maintain the same structures.

Even more remarkable, the sea slug can pass some of the ability it gains to the next generation.


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