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July 28, 2011

Sea Slug (Elysia chlorotica)

A sea slug (Elysia chlorotica) feeding on Vaucheria litorea, a yellow-green algae. E. chlorotica sequesters chloroplasts from the algae into specialized cells that line the digestive diverticulum. The chloroplasts are photosynthetically functional for 9 to 11 months. Nuclear-encoded, algal chloroplast genes necessary to the function of the sequestered chloroplasts have been horizontally transferred and integrated into the slug genome. (Date of Image: 2009)

Credit: Nicholas E. Curtis and Ray Martinez, University of South Florida

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