Sea Butterfly Facts
- It must be pointed out that the term of Sea Butterfly serves as the collective common name for an entire Order of creatures. Its scientific name, however, remains that of Thecosomata. But, no matter what name you use, some things stand out.
- Firstly, the members of this awesome group comprise small species of pelagic sea snails. Secondly, in its case, the members of the group evolved to swim freely around the oceans. Thirdly, this represents a remarkable group of gastropod mollusks.
- But that’s not their only claim to fame. More distinctly, the different member species evolved several completely unique adaptations In many species in this quite remarkable grouping of creatures, the gills and shell disappeared completely.
- Many of the various forms of Sea Butterfly additionally distinguish themselves in yet another manner. That’s in the fact that, unlike numerous animals today, most of these denizens of the oceans remain quite numerous in numbers.
- As a result, none of the species in the group hold statuses of concern on the IUCN Red List. These animals must nevertheless be considered to be at some risk. Their greatest dangers most likely consist of habitat loss and the ongoing effects of climate change.
Sea Butterfly Physical Description
Since the descriptive term of Sea Butterfly applies to a large number of species, one fact remains unavoidable. That’s the fact that physical variations in appearances quite naturally exist. However, the different forms naturally share some characteristics.
Among those mutual traits is sheer size. In point of fact, all currently known examples of these creatures develop as comparatively small. That’s because an average body length only equals about 0.4 in (1 cm). Individuals have a mucous web that extends about 2 in (5 cm).
Among those species still possessing a shell, the animal appears almost completely transparent. Despite the transparency, the shells consist primarily of calcium carbonate. The shells further vary greatly in shape between species, and even individuals.
Finally, the foot of the Sea Butterfly itself constitutes its most memorable feature. This has also evolved. In this case, the natural process of evolution turned it into a pair of lobes resembling wings. These the individuals use to propel themselves slowly through the water.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Order: Heterobranchia
Sea Butterfly Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Given that Sea Butterfly forms the name of an entire Order, yet another fact remains understandable. The various species contained within it appear across a broad range of the world. In point of fact, its members inhabit the great majority of the world’s marine waters.
More precisely, however, this enormous territory extends from the tropics to both poles. Yet, its population density does vary from region to region. Not surprisingly, the greatest concentration of its numbers occurs in the temperate and tropical areas of the globe.
Most regrettably, researchers still know very little about most portions of the lives of these remarkable gastropods. Amazingly, much of that centers around one aspect of its life. The majority of the limited confirmed data about the creature concerns its feeding habits.
First of all, as a general principle the fabulous Sea Butterfly remains a passive feeder. In the case of these gastropods, this mainly consists of plankton. In point of fact, they do so almost exclusively. But, a few individuals occasionally engage in active feeding.
Regarding its choice of precise habitat, however, most experts remain somewhat less certain. But, those specimens reliably studied lived at depths of no more than 82 ft (25 m). These generally stayed deeper by day, and migrated to the surface at night.