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Vampire snail

Caracol vampiro

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When night falls on the sea, everything changes, and the rules that governed during the day transform to allow the animals, who dedicated the entire day to the arduous work of obtaining food, to rest.

Fish, throughout the long path of evolution, developed techniques to keep them away from predators during their resting period. These defense techniques undergo mutations over hundreds of years, adapting to the needs and changes in search of invulnerability. The techniques of predators also do the same. Thus, a original defense will be followed by an equally ingenious attack.

One of the most impressive defensive techniques when it comes to sleeping is that of the parrotfish. This coral eater secretes a mucous slime that, starting from its mouth, covers its entire body (see Sleeping well covered). This slime cocoon camouflages the fish’s scent. Additionally, being highly sensitive, if a predator were to barely touch it, the parrotfish would startle and flee. Undoubtedly, a surprising defense mechanism.

But this doesn’t deter the vampire snail (Colubraria obscura), which has a protruding mouth that acts like a thin needle. This way, the snail can approach the parrotfish’s “slime cocoon” without touching it, pass the delicate needle through the intricate network of slime without disturbing it, and insert it into the fish’s lips, its softest tissue, to slowly extract its blood and feed on it. An incredible technique, especially considering that the attack takes place in absolute darkness. This attack doesn’t greatly affect the parrotfish, except for the possibility of infection, which, to some extent, is a way of preserving the food source.

In every corner of the vast sea, life always finds a way in surprising forms. A small creature can be the perpetrator of another that surpasses it greatly in size and strength. There are no laws or judges, only one rule to follow: stay alive until the next dawn, when life will once again unfold dramatically on the reef.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”