Leaf Sheep: These Cute Sea Slugs Are The Sheep Of The Sea

There are all sorts of beautiful creatures in the sea that most people don’t know about. Costasiella kuroshimae, known as leaf sheep, is a type of slug that lives in the sea. Observers think they resemble cartoon sea sheep because of their flat white face, leafy body, and dark beady eyes. These cartoon sea sheep only grow to a length of 5 mm and are located off the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan.

Costasiella kuroshimae feeds on green algae in the sea and produce energy from their food’s chloroplasts through a “kleptoplasty” process. These cartoon sheep are unique because they are the only organisms in the world that are not plants and can still conduct photosynthesis. The sheep can produce enough energy through kleptoplasty to stay alive for a couple of months.

This cute little leaf sheep is a sea slug that loves to eat algae

leaf sheep sea slugJim Lynn

It is one of the only creatures in the world that can use algae to photosynthesize!

leaf sheep sea slugJim Lynn

Discovered in 1993 off the coast of the Japanese island Kuroshima, leaf slugs have been found in the waters near Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. They have two dark eyes and two rhinophores that emerge from the tops of their heads that look not unlike sheep’s ears or insect antennae, hence the common name “leaf sheep.” The rhinophores have fine hairs that sense chemicals in the water, enabling Costasiella kuroshimae and other sea slugs to find food sources.

These little nibblers have been found everywhere from Japan to Indonesia and the Philippines

leaf sheep sea slugRandi Ang

leaf sheepJohnny Chiu

Lynn Wu

leaf sheep sea slugRandi Ang

sea slugLudovic

leaf slug

Lynn Wu

green leaf slugTanakit YamMo Suwanyangyaun

Vania Kam

sea sheep leaf slugRandi Ang

If this cute little ‘leaf sheep’ has inspired you to see sea slugs in a new light, then check out this adorable ‘sea bunny’ sea slug to seal the deal!