SAY HELLO TO THE “SEA BUNNY”
(P3) Most are less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long and can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean from South Africa to the central Pacific. Though the most popular images of these animals show white animals with black spots, these sea slugs are usually yellow or orange.
(P4) Jorunna parva’s fur-like coat is due to bunches of tiny rods, called caryophyllidia, that cover the animal’s back. They’re arranged around little KNOBS that are sometimes black, giving the sea bunny its SPECKLED appearance.
(P5) “We don’t know for sure what these organs do,” says Ángel Valdés, a sea slug expert at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. But “they probably play sensory roles.”
(P6) The sea bunny’s “ears,” or the two antenna-like structures on top of its head, are most definitely SENSORY ORGANS. Called rhinophores, they DETECT chemicals in the water that helps sea bunnies find food and mates, says Valdés.
(P8) The structure on the sea bunny’s behind that looks like a little “flower” are its GILLS.
(P9) The sea bunny, like most sea slugs or nudibranchs, is a HERMAPHRODITE. They have both male and female reproductive organs, and when they mate, both partners exchange sperm.
(P10) The CUDDLY-looking creatures come armed with “incredibly long COPULATORY SPINES,” says Valdés. It’s basically like a DART that the animal JABS into its partner during the mating process. This ensures that they stay attached to each other until the sperm exchange is done, he explains.
(P11) “They probably live just a few months to a year,” Valdés says, so every chance they get to mate is important.
(P12) Luckily, J. parva doesn’t have to worry much about PREDATORS during its brief life because “they’re very, very TOXIC,” the sea slug expert says. “Anyone who tries to eat them is going to have a very hard time afterwards.”
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Black-and-white animals – penguins, pandas, zebras, DALMATIANS, even orcas – always seem to be very popular. Why do you think this is so?
- Like many animals, the sea bunny is toxic. Why are some animals poisonous?
- Have you ever kept an aquarium with fish and other AQUATIC species?
- Do you see many slugs and SNAILS in your neighborhood after a rain storm?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Sensory organ