Science

Solar powered marine slugs grow new bodies by removing their heads

A new study from Japan revealed that some marine mollusks, which are partly “powered by” solar energy, can intentionally remove their heads in order to grow a new body. The strange discovery was made after a researcher discovered that a sample of a sea slug kept in the laboratory was decapitated – and that the head was moving on its own and eating algae.

The unique decapitation of a sea slug was discovered by Sayaka Mito, who recently made it Work details about New York times. Mito holds a PhD from Nara Women’s University. The candidate at the time she discovered a decapitated sea slug in her lab samples. Upon examining the slug, Mito found that the head was not only alive but also moving and eating.

It appears that the head was removed through a process called self-opening, which in this case means that the marine slug severed its head by melting the tissues of its neck, then tearing off its head. This was the first time an animal was found removing its head to abandon its old body – and then growing a completely new body to replace it.

Although puzzles about how it works Alicia Marginata Marine slugs are withdrawing this process, and for what purposes remain a mystery, researchers have found evidence that self-decapitation was a way to get rid of parasites. Old, discarded carcasses were found to have parasites, while the newly grown carcasses were free of parasites.

Several marine slugs were observed decapitating during the study, including one that removed the head twice, but not all slugs shed their ancient bodies during their lifetime. The ancient corpses, although without a head, were found to react to stimuli for up to several months.

Meanwhile, the new bodies took up to three weeks to regrow – and the researchers noted that the slugs’ ability to partially support themselves using photosynthesis might explain how the freeheads survived long enough to form new bodies. The Full study It can be found in the magazine Current biology.

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