Cuteness strikes again!

That cute little Melibe I found last week is still alive, and still super cute. It lost one of the two large cerata on its back the second day I had it, and I wasn’t sure it would be able to survive long without it, but it has hung in there and started growing a replacement. This afternoon it was crawling on the underside of the surface tension in the bowl:

Melibe leonina crawling on underside of surface tension. 2 October 2015 © Allison J. Gong

Melibe leonina crawling on underside of surface tension.
2 October 2015
© Allison J. Gong

It is extremely difficult photographing transparent animals; this is the best shot I got. You are looking at the animal’s ventral surfaces. It is using its elongate foot to stick to the surface, and the rest of the body is suspended from the foot. The oral hood is wide open and you can see the little blue spots at the base of each tentacle.

The best news is that the tiny Melibe has learned how to eat! The first couple of days I offered it live brine shrimp nauplii, and the Melibe didn’t seem to like the thrashing of the nauplii. It cowered and shrank instead of trying to eat them. Then it occurred to me to mush up the nauplii first, so they wouldn’t be so active. I also thought that the Melibe might be able to eat the mush itself. Aha, success! Except that I wasn’t able to capture any video or photos then.

Today, though, the Melibe did this, while I had the camera all set up and ready to go:

Instead of cringing from the nauplii, today the Melibe was actively going after them. In this video it encloses its oral hood around a handful of nauplii and collapses the hood, forcing the nauplii into its mouth. You can actually see the nauplii stop struggling as they are ingested.

I think the Melibe is growing, too. I’ll have time to measure it on Monday.

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