As the wise ones say, you should learn something new every day. Today I have accomplished that task. On a recent trip to Cozumel I came across a stunning little creature that I thought was a nudibranch. However, using the mighty powers of the internet (Google), I was able to figure out that this little guy is a sea slug and it only closely resembles a nudibranch because of its color and shape.
The Painted Elysia is a sacoglossan which you might know as a sap-sucking slug. For a food source, they are often found grazing on nearby algae. Some even have an amazing ability to use the ingested chloroplasts for themselves. Once the chloroplast has lined their digestive track the sea slug can live for several months via photosynthesis. As technically cool as that might be, I simply find them spectacular to look at and photograph.
Scientific Name: Thuridilla picta
Category: Sap-Sucking Slugs
Size: 0.5 to 1 in. (1 to 2.5 cm)
Depth: 3-40 ft. (1-12 m)
Distribution: Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida