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Egg-sucking sea slug from Florida's Cedar Key named after Muppets creator

Feet from the raw bars and sherbet-colored condominiums of Florida's Cedar Key, researchers discovered a new species of egg-sucking sea slug, a rare outlier in a group famous for being ultra-vegetarians. Named Olea hensoni in honor of Muppets creator Jim Henson, the slug belongs to the sacoglossans, a group of more than 300 species that are such enthusiastic eaters of plants that many of them turn green and some resemble leaves. A few species, nicknamed "solar-powered slugs," have even developed the ability to keep algae alive inside their bodies to photosynthesize their food for them, becoming a fusion of plant and animal. But O. hensoni has gone rogue, joining two other sacoglossan species -- Olea hansineensis from the northeast Pacific and Calliopaea bellula in the Mediterranean -- that abandoned a diet of seaweed to prey on the eggs of their fellow slugs and snails.

Visit Website | Image credit: Gustav Paulay/Florida Museum