Today’s Solutions: April 21, 2024

Planet Earth is home to many incredible creatures, some of which, like lizards and whale sharks, can regrow detached parts of their bodies. But Elysia marginata, a particular species of sea slugs, is one-upping these animals with their remarkable regenerative abilities.

Sakaya Mitoh, a Ph.D. candidate at Nara Women’s University in Japan, discovered that instead of simply regrowing a damaged body part, the lab’s captive-raised sea slugs can self-decapitate and regrow their entire bodies within three weeks.

When Ms. Mitoh first noticed this phenomenon, she was shocked to see the head of the slug munching on algae as though nothing strange had happened.

Self-amputation, otherwise known as autotomy, isn’t abnormal in the animal kingdom. Many species use autotomy to escape from predators, but this is the first time that any animal has been observed abandoning its entire body.

Ms. Mitoh and her team were sure that the head would die quickly without its organs, despite its nonchalant behavior. To everyone’s surprise, the slug was able to regrow all its organs and its entire body in a matter of weeks. The headless body, on the other hand, was unable to regenerate its head, but it lived and reacted to stimuli for months before eventually decomposing.

This revelation motivated Ms. Mitoh and her team to study why sea slugs decide to rid themselves of their bodies. As previously mentioned, most animals who ditch body parts do so as a means of avoiding predation, but sea slugs seem to separate their heads from their bodies to expel internal parasites. By abandoning their bodies, the sea slugs can regenerate parasite-free forms.

Terry Gosliner, senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the California Academy of Science and the leading researcher told The New York Times, “We’ve known for a long time that sea slugs have regenerative capabilities, but this really goes beyond what we had thought.”

Deepening our comprehension of the remarkable and wonderful regenerative capability of sea slugs gives us insights into their behavior and role in the natural environment may one day even lead to advances in regenerative medicine.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

3 simple ways to save an extra $250 per month

Everyone loves to save money, so here are three easy ways you can free up $250 in your budget per month. Cancel subscriptions you ...

Read More

APA, AAPI, APIDA or AANHPI? The history and significance of the “Asian Americ...

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ― Lao Tzu By Arielle Tiangco Weeks ago, seated cross-legged on my couch, I ...

Read More

Playing video games benefit key regions of the brain

A recent study from Georgia State University found that sensorimotor decision-making skills were superior in regular video game players to those that didn’t play ...

Read More

Novel blood cancer treatment effective in three-fourths of trial patients

According to new findings from an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical research trial, a novel investigational immunotherapy resulted in successful response rates for 73 percent ...

Read More