Although it resembles a cute and cuddly sea creature, this little sea creature turns out to be a slug.
The sea bunny nudibranch (Jorunna parva) is a genus of sea snails that typically appears fuzzy and has two long ‘ears,’ which are actually sensory organs that detect chemical signals in the water.
In general, slugs and cute are not words you’d typically associate with each other. Even so, the image of Jorunna Parva, a sea slug, has been gorging Japan for some time now.
Their colouring and fluffy ears make them resemble a small bunny. As they scurry across the sea bed, sea slugs use their rhinophore cells to detect chemicals in the water.
The fuzziness also helps the sea bunny sense what’s going on around her. Sea rabbits have a fuzziness that is composed of caryophyllidiae, fleshy protuberances, and needlelike structures called spicules, which together appear speckled and aid the sea bunny in detecting danger.
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Are sea bunnies poisonous?
“They’re very, very toxic,” the sea slug expert says, so Parva doesn’t have to worry much about predators during its brief life. The sea bunny also called the dorid nudibranch, steals its toxic defences from its food. A few of the toxins that droids produce are used to treat cancer in humans.
Where do sea bunnies live?
The sea bunny, or Joanna parva, belongs to the family Discodorididae and is a species of dorid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusc. In addition to Korea, Japan, and Palau, it is found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, South Africa, and Seychelles.
Are sea slugs safe to touch?
As a defence against predators, this sea slug stores stinging nematocysts from the cnidarian in its tissues. The sting of the slug can be very painful and potentially dangerous for humans handling it.
5 Things You May Not Know About the Sea Bunny Slug
That’s Not A Fur Coat
First of all, the white fur coat you see on the sea bunny slug is actually a variety of colors. It can range from yellow to orange to even brown. In addition, it isn’t fur. The nudibranch’s back is covered with small rods called caryophyllidia. Its spotted appearance comes from these small black spots that are arranged around white spots. These organs have a sensory function, according to most experts.
Those ‘Ears’ Are Actually Sensory Organs
Rhinophores actually serve as the sensory organs responsible for making these creatures look like bunnies. Detecting chemical scents allows the sea bunny to find food and also find potential mates with the help of these sensors. Rhinophores of sea bunny are particularly ‘fuzzy’ in the world of nudibranchs, allowing for a larger surface area for reception to occur. Considering how small they are, sea bunnies are capable of scent detecting over surprising distances.
Sea Bunnies Are Hermaphrodites
A sea bunny is a hermaphrodite, which means it has male and female reproductive organs. The sperm and eggs of both species are fertilized by each other. So both mothers and fathers have children while they are also direct siblings.
Predators Don’t Like Their Toxins
Because they are extremely toxic, these little slugs keep predators away. As a member of the dorid nudibranch family of sea snails, the sea bunny slug steals toxic protective attributes from its food. Toxin-containing sponges are usually eaten by them.
Sea Bunnies Have Short Lifespans
Sea bunnies live only between a couple of months and a year on average. A short lifespan and an isolated lifestyle make mating unreliable, so they must seize the opportunity when it arises. In order to locate one another, they need a highly developed sensory system.