You Are What You Eat
People who say this
don't mean that if you eat a carrot, you will have carrots growing out
of your skin. But the little creatures called nudibranchs seem to have
taken the expression seriously. When a nudibranch eats a poisonous sponge
or a mouthful of sea anemone stingers, something quite like this does
happen. Instead of getting sick or dying, the nudibranch safely stores
these poisons in its own body. Then if another animal tries to eat the
nudibranch, that animal will get a mouthful of sponge poison or anemone
are a type of sea slug. Sea slugs, like slugs on land, are snails
without shells. Most sea slugs are tinyonly about one-half inch
longalthough one species averages a foot in length. Without
the protection of a shell, a nudibranch may look like a slowly moving
meal to a faster animal. Also, because they can't move very far or
fast, nudibranchs must eat whatever is close by. So nature has provided
them with a fascinating bag of tricks to help them survive.
in a variety of colors and shapes.
The nudibranch (left) shows off
its two, long, featherlike attachments
that contain chemical sensors, which
the animal uses to explore its surroundings.