Sea Angels: Devils in Disguise

In the frigid waters of the arctic lives a creature named the sea angel. Sea angels are a type of pteropod (greek for wing-foot), named after the angelic wing shape and motion of their gently flapping feet. These creatures are also called sea slugs, which does little justice to the lightly fluttering underwater beauties.

If you've never been fortunate enough to observe this creature in action, the gif below illustrates the soft, osculating motion of their delicate, translucent bodies:

Another angelic creature that the sea angel can't seem to stay away from, and looks quite similar to, is the sea butterfly (pictured below). Sea butterflies are also pteropods, but belong to the clade Thecosomata.

However similar in beauty these two creatures may be, it's not looks that attract the sea angel to the sea butterfly. You see, the sea angel harbors a secret, they're born and bred hunters with the sole purpose of ambushing and devouring the sea butterfly.

Only when it's too late to escape does the sea angel reveal their true form to their prey. The sea angel begins their blitzkrieg attack by opening their “seraphic” heads to release 6 hellish pitchfork like cones, which they use to snatch the sea butterfly into their “hexa jaws of doom”.

These outstretched hell spikes can literally grow and extend to half the length of the sea angel's body:

If you're wondering how a creature with such a gruesome double life faces their spouse after a meal, well that's never a concern for the sea angel. Angels are simultaneous hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both male and female reproductive parts. This way, they can lay fertilized eggs and produce the next generation of hell spawn without assistance from another member of their species.

If these cold water carnivores have left you with the shivers, fear not, as their average size is typically about 2 centimeters, and maxing out at around 5cm. So, unless you've sold your soul to live a day as a sea butterfly, you can rest knowing that you're safe from these devils in disguise.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_angel

http://www.wired.com/2013/09/undersea-alien-lifeforms/

http://www.realmonstrosities.com/2011/08/sea-angel.html

Image sources: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/zooplanktonguide/species/corolla-spectabilis

https://www.flickr.com/photos/a_semenov/9065222675

http://yyanyh.blog.163.com/blog/static/792499022011116113837498

 

Author: Ralphie

 

 

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1 Response

  1. well I never knew that,xx

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