What are Pokémons? Pokémons are fictious characters created by Nintendo that appear almost like real animals or any other organism exist in real world. However, we live in real world, where Pokémons basically don’t exist.
But some creatures in this world look so amazing that if you never witness it with your real eyes, you might think that it is just a picture of a Pokémon. In addition to that, as a Pokémon usually has special ability, some creatures also have special abilities almost impossible in real life.
Well, talking about out of world appearance and special ability, there is one creature that have both. The name is leafsheep, and it is neither a sheep nor a plant but has the ability of both sheep and plant in one beautiful package.
Here we are going to talk about leafsheep, the Pokémon we can find in real life.
Baa Baa Under The Sea
The scientific name of this creature is Costasiella kuroshimae. It lives underwater in East and Southeast Asian ocean, most notably in Japan, Indonesia, and Philippines. Their cute appearance made them viral in Twitter recently, and indeed they are cute.
Their beady eyes, bunny-ears-like feelers, and greenish colorization attracts the attention from people all around the world. A lot of people wanted to meet them, thus in areas where they live are being visited by tourists all around the world. All just to prove the existence of such creature.
Even though the name of this creature is leafsheep, it has no connection to the real sheep we know living on land. It just appears almost similar to cartoon version of sheep that we usually see in Sunday morning cartoons.
The differences between leafsheep and cartoon sheep are that they exist in real life and it has greenish plant-like ‘fur’. The greenish fur-like thingy is actually the animal’s spiky appendage that grows in the back of its body called cerata.
The original color of the appendixes is clear, but for some reasons (that we will explain later), it turns green. In fact, there are many species of leafsheep that have clear or white cerata on their body and it makes them look more similar to real sheep.
Leafsheep Special Ability
The creature’s appearance seems like Pokémon indeed, since it is pretty cartoony. But that’s not enough to make it being nominated as real-life Pokémon. It needs special ability too just like Bulbasaur that can control its bulb for weapon or Pikachu that can generate electricity.
Well, leafsheep also has its own special ability which is energy generation. It can self-generate its own energy without eating anything for some period of time. The only thing it needs to do so is solar power, meaning this creature is a solar-powered creature.
How come? To be able to self-sustain its own energy, there are some prerequisites to be fulfilled. First, it has to eat some amount eat algae. Second, it has to live near ocean surface where sunlight still can penetrate into the water.
The reason why they need to eat algae is to give them the green color in their cerata. The color is not only giving this creature its unique appearance but also an ability to do photosynthesis. And for those individuals that haven’t eaten algae for some time, the cerata might appear white or clear.
When it eats algae, the food is not digested completely since the chloroplast in it is absorbed into its body. This process is called kleptoplasty, and with the presence of sunlight near the surface this creature can perform photosynthesis with the help of absorbed chloroplast.
Leafsheep can survive without any single food for months. Thanks to the stolen chloroplast from the algae and its ability to use it for photosynthesis. However, not all species of leafsheep can do it because some species are not good enough to only live with photosynthesis alone.
Most of its diet is algae which is always available in the area it lives in, and this cute little creature is not picky about the kind of algae to eat. And for your information, this creature is actually in the family of sacoglossan sea slugs.
And just like any other animal, this sea slug comes in various size, shape, and colorization. This creature also moves cutely just like how slugs move, and using its Heffer-like mouth to scrub the surface of ground for algae it eats a lot of algae every day.
If you look closely, you may also notice how it has dark-colored feelers on top of its head. The feelers are called rhinophores, and the wiggly thing is used to smell its surrounding. Living in clear water near the surface means it has to live among predators, and its smelling ability is useful to avoid incoming danger.
Unique Facts About Leafsheep
With its unique appearance and feature mentioned above, leafsheep also has so many uniqueness. Here is a list of some facts about leafsheep.
- A lot of single-celled organisms can photosynthesize. Protozoa is the most well-known example. But leafsheep is only one of a few multicellular creatures that can.
- Eastern emerald elysia can also perform photosynthesize to transform light into food but the appearance is not so cute.
- This creature can grow up to 0.5 centimeters long, which means we can see it with naked eyes even underwater.
- The green color of its cerata is almost similar to its surrounding, and thus it is the defense mechanism of this animal. Some individuals also develop reddish or purplish color on tip of the cerata.
- This animal can only be found in areas mentioned above, and because this creature is native to those area, it might be hard to find in other places.
- Up until now, there is still no proof that this animal can be taken as pet. This is the reason why its presence in Japan, Indonesia, and Philippines saltwater area attract so many tourists every year.