They’ve taken sunbathing on sandy beaches to a whole new level. They also have a curious tendency to collect together in enormous groups, forming a kind of superorganism.
These curious green flatworms – found along much of Europe’s Atlantic coast – run on inbuilt solar power, meaning they never have to worry about eating. Instead, they laze about on beaches soaking up the sun’s rays and, according to new research, taking the time to socialise.
The bright-green complexion of Symsagittifera roscoffensis, commonly known as the plant-animal or mint-sauce worm, results from free-swimming Tetraselmis convolutae algae that they consume as juveniles. Instead of being digested, the algae take up residence in the worms’ tissues, where they pump out nutrients through photosynthesis.
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