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Sea butterfly

Brown Butterfly

The half-inch-long Cavolinia uncinata swims by flapping two wing-like extensions that give the group of planktonic snails formally known as pteropods its unofficial name of "sea butterflies". Scientists on a recent cruise collected this one for a project examining the effects of ocean acidification on pteropods. Cavolinia feeds by producing a net or web of mucus attached to its mouth. When particles and small prey stick to the net, the pteropod ingests its dinner, web and all. This 2013 WHOI calendar, containing this image, is available at the WHOI store. (Photo by Leo Bianco-Bercial, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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