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Did you know that in tropical waters around Bali you can find an underwater beauty which got their nickname after a popular child character the “Shaun The Sheep”? This adorable nickname originates from their appearance characterized by black rounded eyes, sheep-like face and cute feelers. So-called "Leaf Sheep", also known under the scientific name Costasiella kuroshimae, is species of sacoglossan sea slug - nudibranch. This ocean inhabitant is rather small, growing only up to 5mm. You can find it munching on algae, leaves or seagrass on shallow parts of the reef.
Solar powered nudibranch
What is Kleptoplasty
These cute underwater sheep are truly unique, not only by their look but also because they are the only animal in the world which is capable of photosynthesis. In fact, this process is called kleptoplasty and happens as they incorporate and assimilate the chloroplasts from the vegetation they eat into their tiny bodies. It is also the reason why you can find these sea slugs in shallow waters – only here they have a sufficient amount of light for their photosynthesis. As a result, their other nickname is the “solar powered nudi”.
Where to dive with Shaun the sheep?
You can spot the leaf sheep around Bali in Indonesia, especially the Tulamben area. This location is easily reachable with a diving trip from Padangbai. As they are very tiny animals, it might be difficult to spot them with bare eyes. If you wish to find one, pay close attention to the green articles in the water on your way to safety stop. As it usually is in the size of a rice grain, better prepare your macro lens to capture in its all beauty.