There’s a chubby sea bunny craze in Japan and no, it doesn’t involve sinking bunnies into water. Rather, it involves actually sea dwelling types of bunnies, that aren’t actually bunnies at all, but slugs. But who cares, just look at those ears! And that tail (which may not be a tail but it doesn’t matter)!
This little sea slug has already covered all of Japan and spread around every single screen available, no matter how slow it moves, the internet has given it a jump to light speed. It’s taken over every single Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube page in Japan (yes, even the weirder ones). It has fan-sites, social media pages and countless retweets, reblogs, shares, likes, so on and so forth.
But, what do we actually know about this creature that makes you want to go “aww”?
Not much. Not even Wikipedia can shed too much light on the subject. It’s called the Jorunna Parva and it is found in the waters off of Japan’s coast, as well as in other regions of the Pacific Ocean. Reports say different species are found even in the Indian Ocean and near the Philippines. The living marshmallow is part of the Jorunna genus which contains at least 15 other species of sea slugs which all closely resemble a sea bunny.
The Parva itself was discovered in 1938 by a Japanese malacologist named Kikutaro Baba and has since been relatively obscure, until now. Unfortunately, Baba died back in November 2001 of pneumonia, and did not live to see his discovery become famous.
The ears displayed by the creature (which has been described like a salt covered, sesame coated snow rabbit) are not actually ears, but a pair of rhinophores. These are chemosensory organs which are found only on sea slugs. They are used to detect scents and tastes in the water surrounding the bunnies. To do this, they essentially analyze the water for chemicals. Essentially, this makes them chemistry tools, and some very advanced ones of which chemists would be jealous.
It is known that the little slugs can retract their rhinohores so as to hide them away from predators, yet it is uncertain whether our little star, the Parva, does so itself.
They also have interesting formations where a hypothetical tail would be, but I think we really don’t want to know what those are.
Image source: imgur.com