Meet The Sea Slug That Sheds Its Own Head And Grows A New Body

When a human being loses an appendage, such as a finger or foot, they lose it for life.

There are some creatures in nature, however, such as certain lizards, that can lose their tail and it goes back again. It’s a type of natural defense mechanism, but it’s still interesting to see.

It seems as if there is something else in nature that is perhaps even more interesting: a sea slug that rips off its own head. It was reported on by a doctoral student at Nara Women’s University in Japan, Sayaka Mitoh. It isn’t just the fact that they lose their head, it’s the fact that they grow a new body after.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

You can see some videos of the heads moving around on their own below.

The University decided to do some additional studies and experiments after this was discovered. It seems as if there are two species of sea slugs, Elysia atroviridis and Elysia cf that will grow a new body after they detached their head.

Photo: YouTube/Guardian Australia

More than likely, they make the decision to leave their body behind if it becomes infected with parasites.

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It seems as if there are a number of sea slugs that can take part in this type of decapitation activity. The neck tissue is dissolved and the heads separate. It only takes about a day for the wound to heal and they leave behind their old body, never to return again.

Photo: YouTube/LiveScience

At that point, the head starts growing a new body, which takes about three weeks. During the time that the body is growing, the head continues to move around on its own.

Although many slugs may take part in this type of activity, the Elysia marginata and Elysia atroviridis C slugs do so with style. It seems as if they use chloroplasts from the sun to provide a type of solar-powered energy so the heads can continue to live while the new body is grown.

The world is a strange place sometimes.

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